masks

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Art Craft

Extravagant Masks by threadstories Offer Cultural Commentary on Selfhood and Social Media

March 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © threadstories, shared with permission

Covered in full-face masks of fringe and knotted details, threadstories (previously) explores the tension between contemporary portrayals of public and private life. The Irish artist poses in front of gray backdrops for her self-portraits that obscure her face and only sometimes reveal a set of eyes or a mouth through the crocheted exterior.

threadstories tells Colossal that the process for creating each piece is similar. She begins by crocheting the balaclava—sometimes adding space for further detail like pointed ears or a hand-drawn face—before crafting various tufts and dense patches. “The yarns I use when tufting will create an endless array of outcomes from the same technique,” she writes. “The choice of yarn can mean the difference between a mask with a lot of movement or a mask with a strong form that can be brushed and manipulated to hold numerous forms.”

Once she’s photographed the finished project, threadstories deconstructs the pieces to transform them into a new extravagant work. “Generally speaking, I am working intuitively, no design or drawings in advance. I am thinking with my hands,” she says. “For me, it is the photograph or mask on film that is the artwork, not the physical mask. I don’t create pieces like a designer might. The masks are always in a state of flux.”

Each fiber-based creations serves as a visual representation of how people obscure their lives, both intentionally and not, for public consumption. “The masks are sometimes monstrous, other times farcical façades that poke at the performative nature social media cultivates and celebrates,” she writes. Each caption helps build a narrative.

threadstories is questioning how the erosion of personal privacy in the digital age shapes how we view and portray ourselves online. The masks deny the viewer the full story of who the sitter is, echoing the curated or false personas we view online daily. My masks are photographed against a sanitised white square. I know there is often chaos, mess and noise just beyond the margins of that photograph, but the messiness of life doesn’t make the edit for social media.

Find more of the artist’s work that intersects art and cultural commentary on Instagram.

 

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Craft

Papier-Mâché Masks Crafted by Liz Sexton Bring Animals to Human Scale

February 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Liz Sexton, shared with permission

Rejecting anthropocentrism, Liz Sexton wants to break down the boundary between human and animal life. The Minneapolis-based artist creates large papier-mâché pieces of foxes, owls, and other wild animals designed to be worn by humans, creating a hybrid being that she often situates in non-natural environments, like a rat near the subway lines or a porcupine fish out of water.

Sexton began making her facial masks a few years ago after constructing a couple of Halloween costumes, although she’s worked with the versatile paper material for many years. Made of brown paper, paste, and paper pulp, each piece takes a couple of weeks, if not months, to create. The artist tells Colossal that her “hope is that the viewer gains not only awareness of the animal but a sense of kinship and empathy.”

I often work on species facing existential threats, such as marine life, though I suppose this uncertainty applies to most animals at this point. Photographing the animal heads worn out of their natural habitats, and in our immediate world, highlights the displacement that many creatures experience. I also enjoy working on animals that likely live very close to us but we don’t necessary see. Bringing them out into our human habitats, on a human scale, they become neighbors, commuters, a visible part of our community.

When not being worn, Sexton’s masks rest flat on the floor, appearing as a bust and adding to the reverential quality she hopes to inspire. For more of the artist’s animalistic projects—and to see the miniature rhinos, bears, and zebras she recently created for The New York Times Style Magazine⁠—head to Instagram.

 

 



Craft

Brightly Colored Rope Masks Born from Happy Accidents by Bertjan Pot

February 9, 2020

Andrew LaSane

All images © Bertjan Pot

During a material experiment, Dutch designer Bertjan Pot, along with his fellow designer Vladi Rapaport, discovered a technique for stitching together lengths of brightly colored rope to create interesting face masks. Though reminiscent of tribal masks and seemingly full of meaning and individual narratives, Pot says that the faces came from a less-than-successful attempt at making rugs.

When trying to turn the rope into rugs, Pot found that the material would not stay flat. His assistant noticed the curvy samples and suggested that they be used to make faces instead. “In the end it turned out to be the most powerful application for the material,” he told Azure Magazine. The combination of colors and shapes give each mask a unique personality. Stitched elements resembling facial features cause the viewer to ascribe emotions to the characters, even if that was not the designer’s intention. As of the Azure interview in 2018, Pot had created around 250 masks, many of which have been shown along with the designer’s other work in exhibitions around the world.

To see more of the vibrant and expressive face masks, follow the designer on Instagram.

 

 



Art Craft Design

Sequined and Baubled Masks by ‘Damselfrau’ Fascinate with Mysterious Beauty

September 17, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Self-taught artist Magnhild Kennedy (previously), who works as ‘Damselfrau’, uses found and vintage materials to create elaborate masks. Mesh netting, sequined appliques, ribbons, beads, and pompoms come together in Kennedy’s wearable artworks, which she documents and shares on Instagram. Leaving space for her eyes, the artist otherwise completely obscures her face and poses against a blank background with patterned fabric draped around her shoulders. The artist declines to attach specific meaning or intention to each creation, instead leaving the interpretive experience up to the viewer.

In an interview with Yatzer, Kennedy explains that she grew up in an artistic household, and describes her start as a mask-maker as “a fluke”: in the 2000’s she began making masks as a fun thing to wear when going out to clubs with friends. Over the last decade, Kennedy has continued to explore the seemingly limitless possibilities of the mask as medium, and teaches herself new sewing skills to add to her repertoire of techniques. The artist explains to Yatzer that she draws inspiration from domestic environments: “I’m inspired by people’s homes and how they live with their objects around them. I often feel like I’m decorating a space, more than making a mask.”

You can see more of the artist’s ever-expanding collection of masks on Instagram and view select editorial commissions on her website gallery.

 

 



Art Design

Vintage Clothing and Found Objects Compose Decorative Masks Designed by Magnhild Kennedy

June 21, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Magnhild Kennedy, who makes work under the name Damselfrau, creates intricate headpieces and masks that are comprised of both high and lowbrow elements. The London and Oslo-based artist mixes together sequins, vintage clothing scraps, and random materials she finds on the street to compose works that expose minimal elements of the wearer’s face. The pieces are intended to operate as both art objects and wearable sculptures, and were initially inspired by the elegant clothing seen during her days working at a London vintage shop.

As a completely self-taught artist, Kennedy learns techniques as she forms new masks, trouble-shooting new methods alongside her more elaborate designs. You can see more of her wearable works on her website and Instagram.

 

 



Craft Design

Playful Paper Masks by Lobulo Studio for Barcelona’s Grec Festival

April 4, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

For the 2018 marketing of Barcelona’s long-running Grec Festival, which includes dance, theater, circus, and music, the London-based Lobulo Studio was tapped to create a series of unusual paper masks. Using the prompt “new species,” Lobulo explains on their website that they were “playing with the concept of new rare species that nobody has seen before” in order to “bring color, joy, and readiness to discover”. Each mask conveys a unique persona: a four-eyed character’s mouth is open in awe, while drops of blue water-like shapes convey a fluid suit of armor. You can see more of Lobulo’s paper creations, including a Berlin feast and an eerie church, on Instagram and Behance. (via PLAIN Magazine)

 

 



Art Craft

Crocheted Masks by threadstories Question How We Portray Ourselves Online

January 31, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Irish visual artist threadstories crafts wearable textile masks that are often full-coverage, obscuring her face with layers of multi-colored yarn. The works are made with traditional techniques, and inspired by everything from the art of basketweaving to Francis Bacon’s distorted figural paintings. Each work begins with a crocheted balaclava which the artist uses as a base to attach each segment of material.

Conceptually, the masks question how we portray ourselves online and how this is influenced by a rapid decrease in personal privacy. “The masks deny the viewer the full story of who the sitter is, echoing the curated or false personas we portray and view online daily,” threadstories tells Colossal. “The masks are mutations of our private and public selves.”

You can see a short film that more deeply explores the process behind threadstories’s practice and masks in this film made by Sixbetween, and view more of her textile works on Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

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Out of it #mask #anticeleb #constantcontentcreator @threadstories

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