Some of my masks are commissioned. Some are designed as a part of a specific theatre or dance production. Some are the results of experimenting in the studio. But nearly all of the masks I make are intended for performance—or at least for wearing. The materials I use and painting styles I employ follow this sense of functionality.
However, masks are not only present in the arena of performance, but in visual art world and the ritual world. They can be sacred, profane, entertaining, instructing, comic, tragic, symbolic, magical, instructive, characters, metaphors, disguises, and more.
In some masks, the materials used have equal or greater importance than the character or image of the mask. And in certain schools of theatre, the mask is a metaphor to describe everything: there is a mask of a character, of a space, of a time, of an atmosphere.
And it’s always evolving! New materials and processes arise. New technologies have implications on the way we find and maintain community. New needs become apparent, and new rituals develop to meet them.
Here are some links of some newer things I find interesting
Studio Bertjan Pot
“I wanted to find out if by stitching a rope together I could make a large flat carpet. Instead of flat, the samples got curvy. When I was about to give up on the carpet, Vladi came up with the idea of shaping the rope into masks. The possibilities are endless, I’m meeting new faces every day.”
Daisey Bingham makes many wonderful things. I first met her as a fellow design student, and we spent many hours together in the costume shop.
Recently, she has begun to make many awesome masks stitched from felt, and even sells her patterns on her Etsy shop. You can follow her blog here.
I met Aleksander Skoric in Amsterdam in 1999. He is a multidisciplinary artist that makes wonderful paper masks. Check out his gallery on his website here.
The Wonderheads are a performance company based in Portland, Oregon. Their comical shows feature a style of storytelling which is almost completely non-verbal. These masks completely surround the head and are fitted with accessories like wigs and glasses.
Taylor Mac is a force. I repeat, a force. Do yourself a favor and [buy a ticket to New York if necessary] and see him perform. He is a captivating performance artist using surprise and imagination to connect with the audience. And he’s a drag queen with a great sense of style. Is it a mask? Is it makeup? Is it something else? Let me know what you think.
And now, it’s OFF TO INDIA to work on the Maya project!