Let’s face it, many cultures throughout the earth use masks as part of expressing their history and cultural mythologies along with songs, stories, festivals and the like. To my dismay, they are not really part of contemporary Australian culture. Maybe in a few hundred years as our history grows and we develop mythologies and stories that reflect the modern Australian community they may become part of it. Perhaps this article will inspire some people to get out from in front of the screen and make a beautiful mask. Make sure if you do, you document your process as guest writers are welcome on this blog.
It’s Not Gurning!
- pull a grotesque face.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to make beautiful and interesting masks. The same applies to hideous masks which are also quite beautiful! There are so many materials laying around the streets, nature and at op shops that you will quickly amass boxes of interesting ingredients to help you cook up some mind bending new faces. A great example of this is a mask a musician friend of mine made recently and used for his performance at the Swan Basement Hotel in Fremantle. The main ingredients are cardboard and paint! So simple and yet so amazing. I was quite inspired by the brilliance of this piece and will try and make some simpler stuff as the effect can be just as striking as more complex masks.
Where to wear your new face.
I never really paid attention to making masks because as I mentioned previously, there is no place I know of, where to wear them. It wasn’t until I went to my first Blazing Swan festival in 2015 that I got inspired to start creating masks. Blazing Swan is an annual arts festival held near Kulin, Western Australia. Its an event based on a similar model and principles as Burning Man in the USA. The theme for 2016 festival was ‘inspiration’ and inspiring it certainly was. It opened up a whole new pathway in my creativity and in the spirit of sharing, I would love to inspire some of that in you! We could have a party and celebrate our new faces in style!
If you’re ready to have some serious fun and make yourself a new face then keep reading. I think the best place to start your journey into mask making is by doing some research and some sketches. I have a Pinterest board with a large collection of masks for inspiration here and you can also read some books and search the net.
Next step is to make some sketches. Try to keep it weird and playful. You don’t even have to be good at drawing, I’m certainly not but it helps expand your ideas. Once you’re done, get some cardboard, cut it out, paint it, bend it, strap it and BOOM! You’re done! Here’s your new face!