masks

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Design

A Savvy Designer Launches Company that Prints Custom Masks Emblazoned with Your Face

June 26, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Maskalike, shared with permission

A clever new product by Danielle Baskin is a remedy to current challenges with facial recognition software used to unlock phones. The San Francisco-based designer recently launched Maskalike, a company that prints custom face coverings with photographs of the wearer. Made of machine-washable cotton, the functional masks create a seamless look that opens cellphones and other devices without having to remove it first.

Maskalike currently has a waitlist for custom designs, although there are options for those who want to maintain some anonymity. The company sells masks printed with Hide the Pain Harold, a man featured in stock photographs who now is recognized widely as a meme. “Look permanently uncomfortable, trying to be happy,” the product description reads.

Follow updates on the company’s timely designs on Instagram. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



History Illustration Science

Vintage Natural Science and Astronomy Illustrations Adorn Face Masks by Maria Popova

June 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Society6

Maria Popova, of Brain Pickings, has released a series of face masks that bring a dose of history to the modern-day essential. Each fabric covering is adorned with a vintage natural history or astronomy illustration, including Ellen Harding Baker’s solar system quilt, Ernst Haeckel’s renderings of jellyfish, and irises and other medicinal plants originally painted by Elizabeth Blackwell in the 18th century. “Because of the mask’s particular folding pattern, some of the artwork came alive in a wholly new and unexpected way,” Popova writes in a post.

My personal favorite — the original design I made for myself and my most beloved human — is the total solar eclipse mask, evocative of the opening line of astronomer and poet Rebecca Elson’s magnificent “Antidotes to Fear of Death”: “Sometimes as an antidote, To fear of death, I eat the stars.”

Explore some of the collection on Brain Pickings. You also might enjoy these artist-designed masks.

 

 

 



Art

Ai Weiwei Has Designed Face Masks to Raise Funds for COVID-19 Relief

May 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Ai Weiwei

A defiant middle finger, a heap of sunflower seeds, and various mythical creatures are all silk-screened in black ink on the blue cloth backdrops of nonsurgical masks. The artworks the most recent intervention by artist and activist Ai Weiwei (previously) to help raise money for organizations directly involved with combating the coronavirus pandemic.

Inspired by a documentary he’s making about COVID-19, the artist decided to create an entire collection after printing his iconic middle finger onto one of the disposable cloths. “An individual wearing a mask makes a gesture; a society wearing masks combats a deadly virus. And a society that wears masks because of the choices of individuals, rather than because of the directive of authorities, can defy and withstand any force. No will is too small and no act too helpless,” he writes on Instagram. While masks have become a ubiquitous symbol for the COVID-19 crisis, many of the inky renderings hearken back to Ai’s ongoing commitment to humanitarian efforts.

Hand-printed in the artist’s Berlin studio, the newly released face coverings are sold singularly and in groups of four and twenty. They’re available for purchase through June 27 on eBay, and proceeds will be split equally between Human Rights Watch, Refugees International, and Doctors Without Borders. (via Artsy)

 

 

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Craft

Extra Tongues and Cheeky Grins Knit onto Humorously Grotesque Masks by Ýrúrarí Jóhannsdóttir

May 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Ýrúrarí Jóhannsdóttir

Although most masks hide emotions, Ýrúrarí Jóhannsdóttir’s knits permanently display fervid grins and facial contortions to those she passes on the street or stands next to in the grocery store. The Iceland-based designer has been crafting grotesque knitwear with the intention of warding off anyone who gets too close through a series of monstrous features. Unruly mouths evoke Medusa, oversized lips grin too eagerly, and a lengthy tongue proves an impossible feat as it licks the designer’s eyeball.

Despite their effective scare tactics, Jóhannsdóttir won’t be wearing these in public because she says they’re not designed to guard against COVID-19. Even so, follow her unorthodox facial coverings and check out her similarly outlandish apparel on Instagram. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Art Design

Artist-Designed Face Masks by Threadless Give Medical Supplies to Communities in Need

April 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

A recent launch by Threadless is an impressive, multifaceted initiative to combat COVID-19 that’s a win for consumers trying to stay safe, health-care workers on the front lines, and artists and creatives who’ve lost income. The Chicago-based eCommerce company announced this week that it would release artist-designed face masks, with a portion of proceeds going to MedShare, a nonprofit that delivers medical supplies to communities in need. Featuring work from Rob Sheridan, Alex Norris, and Mukta Lata Barua, the cloth face makes comply with CDC guidelines but are not medical grade.

Jake Nickell, the founder and CEO of Threadless, told Colossal that in just six days, the company raised $100,000 and has increased its target to $250,000. “When the CDC released guidelines for wearing cloth masks, we knew our artist community would be clamoring to design them and that we could raise a lot of funding for frontline workers through mask sales,” he said. “Masks are looking to be a part of our culture for the foreseeable future so (we) may as well express ourselves a bit through art and design when wearing them.” The move coincides with Threadless’s decision to give artists 60% of apparel sales from their shops, although the company said many are donating their face mask profits.

Artists and small businesses are encouraged to participate in the initiative by uploading their designs and logos. Purchase your own face covering from Threadless, and follow the company’s progress on Instagram. If you don’t need a mask but still want to help, you can donate on MedShare’s site.

 

 



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.

 

 

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