Opera-matic, a collaborative arts group in Chicago, contacted me this last spring to make a mask for The Moon on the Lagoon, The community performance featured lullabies and the faces people find in the moon. What a cool idea!
Part of designing the mask is figuring how it will align with and/or cover the performer’s face. The producers knew they wanted the mouth of the performer available, so I approached it much like a three-quarter character mask.
Variations on a Mantis
Inspiration and discovery continue throughout the process of making. Those moments are my favorite in my process. These inspirations can manifest in an accident, through a coincidence of timing, etc.
The first version of this mask was made for the Grand Guignolers company in Los Angeles. It was to be human in scale, which directed my choice about how to create visibility for the actor.
This amazing insect was so inspiring, it started appearing in other projects, like the shadow puppet show bugged, created with Rollin Carlson.
Working in shadow encourages an essentialization of form. It’s interesting to look back and see which elements carry on and evolve through the various iterations. After this further exploration of this form through puppetry, I realized wasn’t quite satisfied with the silhouette. I jumped at the chance to improve it with my next commission for the insect.
I refined the eye hole to be even more incorporated in the geometry of the sculpture. The next time I had the opportunity to work on this mask, I played around a little with color. Research images guided my thoughts.
I’ve learned great things each time about this he next time I work on this mask, I want to explore greater width. Here are all the versions so far:
A few months ago I was approached by a photographer in Eugene, Oregon, named Dennis Galloway. Among his many other projects, he shoots panoramas of artists in their studios. We arranged a time and he came up an took this awesome photo.
We chatted about masks and photography and travels as we did this shoot. It went so quickly!
The distortion caused by the rotation of the camera makes it look so much bigger than it is, and changes the shapes of things. Now I want curved tables to work at!