Face Off Episodes

Season

11

Episode

13

Gargoyle Guardians

We’ve finally made it to the semifinals, and with this gargoyle challenge, we’ll see who will soar, and who will sink like stones.

At the top of a tall building in the middle of downtown L.A., the contestants blindly choose an architectural style, and design a gargoyle that would sit on such a building to protect the citizens below. Cig draws Russian Renaissance, that ornate style with onion domes and intense geometric designs. The examples are so crazy and varied that he feels he can choose almost anything for his design. He envisions tiny diamond shapes spiraling up one of his onion dome epaulets, but in sculpting he realizes this will take way more time than he has. Too late to stop now! Looks like he’ll just have to grow another pair of arms to get this done.

George is straight STUMPED by his architectural style. Deconstructivism? What even is that? The only rule is no rules, and most of the examples feature rolling, sloping surfaces – virtually no right angles – so after banging his head against the clay, George lets the clay speak for itself in undulating, silvery-blue waves. He adds mismatched gold and silver horns, because: No rules! Then he takes a first pass at some wings. And then a second pass. And then he has, like, 30 minutes left and still no wings (which, BTW, are a requirement for this challenge), so he throws up a piece of L200 in a Frank Gehry-esque curve and ties it on with some string. NO RULES!

Emily loves her chosen style (Art Deco) but is not having the smoothest relationship with the bird-man she wants to create. Making an eagle face look menacing and humanoid is proving problematic, so the whole crew jumps in and gives her advice on how to make this joint look good. She takes her fellow semi-finalists’ words to heart and transforms her troubles into a sleek, feathered protector of a chic building. She scrapped and re-scrapped her sculpts, resulting in a tiny bit of molding time, and that took a toll on her foam edges. Not to worry! Her painting skills can make it look more like weathered metal than patchy foam.

Tyler is SUPES excited about this challenge – he loves gargoyles! His architectural style, Victorian, lends itself well to these creatures, and he takes inspiration from the towering spires when sculpting his granite-looking guardian. He’s moving full speed ahead, eyes on the finale, no setbacks!

When the artists reach the reveal stage, it’s an unenviable day for the judges. These four contestants are tremendous artists, and they’ve each brought their talents to bear in a big way this week. Emily’s eagle lands her the first spot in the finale – though Neville thinks some of her form language is more Nouveau than Deco, the overall appearance could have walked right off the gilded door of some historic Manhattan building. Cig, who placed an onion dome emblem on the third eye of his gargoyle, takes the second spot in the finale with a special lauding of the thorough detail in his work.

Which means it’s down to George’s noble attempt at an ignoble form, and Tyler’s stony warrior. Though both are excellent, the judges have issues with George’s mismatched horns and the thrown-together wings. Though the form language is true to the style, it’s aesthetically hard to take. Tyler’s work, on the other hand, is stellar in its execution and vision – the only trouble is, the form language is way more Gothic than Victorian.

George is the underdog, here, being the only contestant not in the finale on his original season, so it’s with great relief that we see him claim that ultimate spot this season. It softens the blow, just a little, of not having Tyler in the finale. Can’t we just have four finalists this season? Please?

Farewell, Tyler! We know we’ll be seeing great things from you real soon. And to our finalists, congrats! We can’t wait to see what you turn out for the big event.