Saturday, January 20, 2018

SCULPTURE: "The Mask Project"

For the last month, I've been working on a fun "little" project. My friends, Amado Espinoza and Karen Lisondra, have been teaching at UMKC this semester. They're working with some Theater Grad Students on the topic of "Storytelling". The original production will include drama, comedy, choreography, music...and MASKS!!

I was asked to advise Karen and Amado on the process of making paper mache masks, to give the students some tips on the process. It became evident that there would not be enough time for the students to make the masks, and it would be too challenging for non-artists to tackle. So...I volunteered to make 7 masks, and get them ready for the students to paint and decorate. I ended up helping with some of the painting, and completely finished two of the masks myself. Above is a "Water/ Fire Creature" that I constructed and painted. I also painted the "Deer Skull" mask. The pic below shows the other masks in various stages of completion. This was the night I got to meet the was a blast to see their faces when they saw the masks for the first time.
The design of the masks were not from my imagination, but rather based on sketches and concepts devised by the students. However, I did have to modify the designs to allow for the students to be able to play didgeridoos during the performances. I was also given some very old-school "drama masks" from the theater department (like the "angry face" in the lower right corner) to use as a base to build upon for 5 of the masks.
Below are some images of the process of construction. I used paper, card board, masking tape, white duct tape, wire, paper mache mulch (Celluclay) and paper "clay". I also painted on Elmer's wood glue to give a solid coating to the forms. I then painted each mask with white latex house paint to give a good foundation to paint upon with acrylic paints.
Here are three masks that have been completed by the students. The "Trickster" was painted by Marianne McKenzie.
This next one was finished out by Khalif's the "Waphuri-Weaver of worlds/ mask of three faces".
The "Branch/Tusks" concept was painted and decorated by Chelsea Kinser.
And finally, here's a close up of the "Deer Skull" that I built and painted...kind of creepy...but I just gave them what they asked for!
After making these masks, I was so inspired, that I wanted to make one for myself to put up on my studio wall. I'll save that for another post, so I can show you all the process stages it went through after I finish it. Until then...ta-ta-for-now!!