John Mellencamp opened up a gallery space in Indiana with artwork and objects and macabre things. He asked to make some old-school-looking mannequins for the gallery. I looked at old French and German artist mannequins from the 18th and 19th centuries for inspiration. The freaky thing about those mannequins is that their heads were uncannily life-like while their bodies were like doll bodies. They sort of looked like automatons Their heads were made of papier-mache and their bodies were wooden and fully articulated.
you can check out my reference folder here to see some originals and other related stuff:
I got all into this... trying to make these mannequins look old and distressed... learned how to stain wood (improperly), learned how to distress wood with chemicals, and then went all in with getting old-school style text and designs that I then cut on a laser cutter and stenciled onto the bodies of the mannequins. Sort of feel like I am on a movie set or in prop room at a playhouse -- but getting into it because it is fun and giving me an excuse to learn new technology and use the lab here at IU where we have 3D printers and laser cutters. Too bad the learning curve is so dang steep.