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  • Writer's pictureKrissy Vanderwarker

Inspired By's - Enlivening Cardboard & Paper

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!


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