‘Real’ masks are from something else…
It has always seemed to me that cardboard masks are something you make in primary school. If I wanted to take this art seriously then I was going to use everything but, because masks made from cardboard are crap. It appears that I was wrong. This material is cheap, versatile and with the right finishing treatment you can get some great results.
I had gotten my hit of inspiration from watching a friends band play a gig. The keyboardist Rodrigo borrowed my ‘Sun God’ mask but the guitarist Tris made his own out of cardboard, paint and other bits. It surprised me how great it was and so I decided to give it a try.
The Birth of Umoya; A Cardboard Mask
‘Umoya’ mixed media mask. 2016. A visitor to Perth from the Savannah. Travelling as the wind into Fremantle, this friendly spirit loves to party and get arty.
My original intent with this project was fairly simple; cut out some cardboard and paint it. This is a great idea and one I will experiment with in the future, but as I often do, I got distracted. Some months earlier I bought some EVA craft foam sheets. These have bright bold colours are easy to cut, punch and glue. I didn’t have any good quality paints to make the bold colours I wanted so the EVA foam became the solution.
Without a plan or a drawing is sometimes a good place to start. It’s good to just do stuff, especially when you’re practicing. I tried various methods of cutting and punching the sheets into different shapes and stuck them to the cardboard with PVA glue. The result made me quite happy. An important thing I should have mentioned earlier is knowing where a mask will be used. When I made my first mask it was for the Blazing Swan festival, I didn’t think of needing easy access my mouth, or the need for stuffing it with food and beer while still looking the part. This was not a mistake I would make again.
Who goes to a bar with their real face on anyway?
It took a while but i am very happy with the result. The mouth of the mask is where your eyes see out of. The rest of it doesn’t quite cover the wearers mouth so you can dance, eat peanuts, and look fabulous all at the same time.