Some for wearing, some for seeing

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.

IMG_1965However, 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.

The feathers on this Inuit mask are important for what they are, not for the way they create an illusion of a face.
The feathers on this Inuit mask are important for what they are, not for the way they create an illusion of a face.

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.

Cittipatti_skull-mask

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

Read about the rope/string masks from Studio Bertjan Pot in this article from Juxtapoz.

These masks were born by accident, but they are quite interesting faces.
These masks were born by accident, but they are quite interesting faces.

“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.”

 

Creative Compulsive

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.

hen mask

 

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.

Sasadesign

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.

Ivana Paperel from sasadesign on Vimeo.

Wonderheads

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.

Two character from "The Middle of Everywhere". These masks completely surround the head and are fitted with accessories like wigs and glasses.
Two character from “The Middle of Everywhere”. Actors bring these characters and the story to life  with a nuanced use of the body.

Taylor Mac

Image from "The Be(A)st of Taylor Mac"
Image from “The Be(A)st of Taylor Mac”

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!

 

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