Most people know who Robert Pattinson is. The handsome British actor has appeared in multiple blockbusters and is most famous for his role as Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter series. But did you know that he is a world-class ice sculptor? Or that he enjoys making masks of famous people?
While promoting his new film The Lost City of Z, Pattinson revealed that he had begun work on a new piece and decided to show it to us. As he often does, the actor shared some interesting information about his process and how he came up with his stunning sculpture.
The Making Of A Hollywood Star
After appearing in low-budget British projects for a while, Pattinson got the big break he had been hoping for when he was cast as Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter film series. The series not only gave him the fame he craved but also introduced him to the beauty of ice sculpture. And what is a beauty without a mask?
Since then, he has appeared in a host of other big-budget films and is now considered one of the most talented English actors of his generation. That’s not all he does, however; in addition to his acting career, Pattinson has made a name for himself as a sculptor. He has used his skills to grace the covers of Vogue and Vanity Fair and to create some amazing sculptures of classical Hollywood figures.
What Is This Mask Of?
For his latest sculpture, Pattinson decided to pay tribute to Roman Polanski, the Oscar-winning Hungarian director and screenwriter. Polanski is famous for his work on the Frantic, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Chinatown films. And while researching Polanski’s life, Pattinson discovered that the director had a dark side and began to wonder if the Oscar might be slightly tainted. So, rather than simply copying the director’s features, Pattinson instead used ice sculpting tools to age the great filmmaker.
As with all of his previous pieces, the actor created something that was both familiar and unique. While Polanski has become somewhat of a legend for his work, this particular mask will undoubtedly be considered his masterpiece.
Pattinson’s work has always been highly regarded, and in the case of Polanski, it was nothing short of legendary. But why did the handsome British actor decide to give another classical Hollywood figure a makeover? Was it a response to the current wave of nostalgia sweeping the United States, or is there more to it than that?
Well, the actor is from London, and there is clearly a large British contingent among the spectators at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. To cater to this audience, Pattinson gave Mullet McQueen a 20th-century makeover. Using the likeness of Mickey Mantle from the silver screen, here is a glimpse into the sculptor’s brain.
Pattinson was born in London, but he spent most of his childhood in Malaysia. His father, a naval officer, later served as the country’s high commissioner. While growing up, Pattinson showed exceptional artistic talent and began to study sculpture at the renowned Bartle Junior College in London. There, he worked under the supervision of another famous Englishman, Antony Gormley. The experience transformed him as an artist; he credits his time at the college with awakening his love for art.
After graduating from college, Pattinson decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. He chose to live in the city because he felt it would be the best place to further his career. While in LA, he worked as an art director for commercials and film productions. This gave him the opportunity to familiarize himself with the American way of life and to learn how to speak in front of the camera.
Speaking And Singing
One of the first projects that Pattinson worked on in LA was an independent film called The Lost City of Z. The film not only showed the actor’s excellent comedic timing but also let him demonstrate his singing voice. And what is an actor without skills? He not only showcased these skills but also proved that he was more than just a pretty face by performing several tracks from the 1960s.
Thanks to his work in this indie film, Pattinson was eventually offered a role in the new Harry Potter film. Despite its global box office success, the first installment, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was a bit of a disappointment at the box office. Critics said the film was unoriginal and lacked the dark magic of the previous entries. But those who saw it knew it was a breath of fresh air. This was the first time since the original Potter series that the magical world had truly felt contemporary.
A New World Of Ice
Pattinson’s previous work focused mostly on classical Hollywood figures and environments, and this latest piece was no different. But the director of The Lost City of Z, James Gray, had other ideas. Gray, a longtime fan of the actor’s, wanted to see him tackle a new subject matter and challenge himself. So he pitched a new idea to Pattinson: to make a sculpture of David Bowie as the Joker from the 1989 Batman film.
Despite their differences in age and experience, Gray and Pattinson hit it off and began work on the sculpture. But they weren’t the only ones; a large team of people joined them to help bring the sculpture to life. They worked for several months and utilized every available moment of free time to carve and refine the piece. And what is a sculpture without a face? They used dental molds to capture Bowie’s features and embedded them in the ice. To finish off the sculpture, they even added a mechanical voice.
This is one piece of art that will be adored for its brilliant craftsmanship and unique subject matter. And what is a face without a mask? The Joker is one of the most recognizable images from the movie and has become a symbol of chaos and anarchy. But now, thanks to Pattinson, we will be able to see the ruthless villain from a different perspective.
A Change Of Pace
It’s always interesting when an acclaimed artist decides to switch gears and tackle a different type of subject matter, especially since it’s rare for anyone to successfully do this. But Gray didn’t just want to make a statue of David Bowie; he also wanted to explore identity crises in modern society, so he asked Pattinson to give a group of Native American students a makeover akin to the ones he did for James Dean in 1955.
Pattinson, who is descended from both Irish and English ancestors, was born in England and raised in Malaysia. He has stated in the past that he identifies more with the British than the Irish. This new assignment was a chance for the actor to put his skills to the test and come up with something different. While some might balk at the idea of taking on an entire race, the fact is that Gray and Pattinson did exactly that. The former wanted to explore issues of identity and the latter wanted to give a classic Hollywood makeover to a whole community of Native Americans. This was another chance for the actor to show off his excellent comedic timing and to challenge himself as an artist.
Working With Time
One of the most interesting things about this particular sculpture are the time capsules that Pattinson included inside of it. These are references to the famous “pearls before swans” story by H. G. Wells. The story is often cited as the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Snow White, and it was first published in the original form of the novel in 1900. In the story, Wells describes a time when people would hide objects inside stone walls before going on holiday. These time capsules were a fun way for the actor to experiment with his use of ice sculpting tools and to add another layer of meaning to this fascinating piece of art.
Another unique aspect of this particular sculpture is that it isn’t what most people would consider real ice sculpture. In fact, the term “sculpture” might be a misnomer. As Pattinson has stated, this is more of a “model” than a sculpture. This is because the ice was built up layer by layer. The sculptor would first sculpt the basic shape of the object he was trying to create and then would add more layers to it as he went along. This enabled him to shape the ice to any form he wanted and to work with it like a 3D jigsaw puzzle.