To truly disguise yourself you have to be believable as the person you are pretending to be. You have to hide your real self and become the projected self.
The master of disguises is adept at observation and mimicry. They are skilled at the process of transformation.
People who practise the art of disguise with regularity are skilled human chemists who practice their talents long enough to become alchemists – effecting a complete transformation from one state to another, from one being to another.
When reading about actors and artists who use disguises as a form of performance, as a show, I asked myself a series of questions. One that I was unable to resolve was, ‘Why would someone want to retain a disguise instead of being themselves?’ It is a prickly question that is often difficult to answer. I’m guessing that at some point the existence is no longer a disguise but it becomes the new reality of being. This fluidity of being - of identity - is not a disguise. I think it is a period of change and of growth.
At times like this I feel that the disguise serves the purpose of a cloak - to hide the real work going on out of sight.
So, are disguises ever good? Maybe they are if they lead to positive permanent change. But as a means to hurt or deceive others or self, I’d have to say that everything that is disguised is designed to hide the truth of the moment and should therefore be avoided. But, how are you to know what is the truth or a facade?
I’m looking for a litmus test for this question and as soon as I find it I’ll pass the information on to you.
For now my conclusion is that disguises are a way of seeing and of being seen. Maybe all parts of us that are revealed in this way are simply aspects of us that we were previously unable to show but through the mask of identity camouflage we are set free.
“Disguises can be liberating ... [you can mutate] into the objects of ... [your] fascination. Ms Sherman takes a detailed interest in others while mastering the art of making it up.” (Article on Cindy Sherman, reclusive photographer and artist.)