For nearly the entirety of the bands existence, frontman Ellefsen has altered his facial appearance using several alternatives before using a prosthetic mask and ear set. The original mask is based around that of Blix from the movie Legend. The studio who made Mortiis' mask asked for a character reference for the moulding. The mask was always coupled with ears. During Era I the mask covered his whole face, though by Era III it had an appearance whereby it seemed to be falling off and was stitched in place. The mask was dropped after the release of Some Kind of Heroin. Having stated in an interview that the mask has been shelved "for better or worse", as part of the significance of Some Kind of Heroin. He has also said that the mask now bears no direct reference to the music he is making. His choice to change from an established cult image, to a new direction is seen as his desire to produce art for himself, and not other people who want him to do certain things against his will.
Ellefsen's choice of dreadlocks (sometime after Era I), and various outfits helped produce the "Mortiis image". When asked as to what the mask represents he has answered, "I do not look upon myself as a goblin, or troll, or elf, or medieval. I am merely Mortiis." Mortiis has been known to repair his live clothes by using black tape to seal holes and tears. They often cover themselves in corn flour before going on stage.
When talking about the influence for the imagery that his band uses, Ellefsen has commented, "A lot of people do not get that you can do more than just look like you're waiting for a bus. I mean how dull is that? I grew up with Kiss, W.A.S.P. and Alice Cooper."
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