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Mask maker tries to scare off COVID-19

Special effects artist Abelardo made a horror-film-inspired prosthetic face mask for his own use, and now has hundreds of orders from fans.
Credit: RTV
Special effects artist Rene Abelardo checks how one of his COVID-19 masks looks in a mirror in his Philippines workshop Wednesday, June 17, 2020.

LAGUNA, Philippines — Inspired by the ghouls and monsters he usually encounters in his line of work, a Filipino prosthetic makeup artist is warding off the coronavirus with style.

Hailing from a family of painters and sculptors, 50-year-old Rene Abelardo has been working for major film and television productions as a prosthetic makeup artist since he was 17.

When the coronavirus outbreak hit, however, work quickly dried up and he found himself struggling financially.

To kill time, he made a horror film-inspired prosthetic face mask for his own use.

His daughter posted a photo of him wearing it on social media, and it quickly went viral.

It was at that point that Abelardo realized he could capitalize on his talent at a time when face masks had become the new fashion craze.

He invited a few friends to help with the project.

Abelardo has already sold around a dozen of his handmade masks online since late May, which range from $6-$10 each, and he has received hundreds of orders from across the country.