In an effort to inspire and lift up those who are making cool things or are living particularly compelling stories, I curate blog posts that I'm calling "Inspired By's". Enjoy!
I have been enamored by masks and maskwork ever since I took a clowning class while I was in grad school from Paolo Colletto. We started with what is called larval masks and explored how much personality can be derived out of a simple face shape, with a small change in the performer's spine or a gesture.
Working in Chicago theatre, where budgets are small but ingenuity, talent and drive are strong, cardboard and paper is a go-to material. It is inexpensive and flexible. Cardboard is particularly strong and easy to manipulate.
I've long been drawn to Saul Steinberg's illustrative style and point of view. He made a series of paper bag masks and photographed his friends wearing them in various settings. I have a plan to do a summer party where all guests make their own paper bag masks and we finish the night with a great photoshoot in the neighborhood.
The idea of disguise is central to Steinberg’s art. In the world as he saw it, everyone wears a mask, whether real or metaphorical. People invent personas through makeup, facial expression, hairstyles, and these facades become who they are. “The mask,” Steinberg wrote, “is a protection against revelation.”
Larger scale becomes available because the material is light and therefore, wearable.
The design can go highbrow - like recreating a Picasso like Christian Tagliavini did.
Or 'lowbrow' and accessible like these adorable handmade animal masks which would be a lovely addition to any children's birthday party.
Or paper can afford you a non-permanent facial alteration!
Now to go make something with some paper and cardboard. Cheers!