It started out like any normal day. I had been given a request to create a guitar -- any way I'd like to -- for a couple in Puerto Rico. I had worked and worked on this art project to no avail. Originally, I was going to try and re-create a guitar I had made earlier from glass and wire, but using mirrors instead of glass in this one. Somehow it was not working out as I had hoped. I ended up trying a variety of patterns with the mirrors, which would have made the guitar's body, but it just didn't look right. I had even tried to add a mask to the mirrors to see if a trendy Marti Gras image would work. It didn't. Distraught, I left the mirrors on the deck, mask and all. Nothing was glued down, and it had been experimental, anyway.
A week later, Florida had one of its rare rainy days. I had done my exercise on the deck, and with the clouds I turned on the deck light in order to read as I pumped away on the old stationary bike. Finishing my rigourous 45 minute workout, I got off the bike and started to putz around on the deck. That's when I noticed the two large light diamonds on the wall behind me. Inside was a black mask which seemed to be looking out to the distance. I was entranced.
What had happened was the low outdoor lighting combined with the deck light to create an odd reflection from the mirrors. The mirros created the two light diamonds. With the mask still resting on top of them, it, too, became part of the reflection. However, what I found striking was the oddness of the reflection. The original "real" mask was designed to cover only the forehead and the eyes. It had a prominent bridge for the nose while the eye holes were rather leonid. It was a golden color, with mute gold sparkles highlighting whole of the mask, giving it a strong energy. However, the "reflected" mask apeared long and black and would have covered the entire face were it "real". The inverted reflection made the bottom of the short gold mask the top of this black shadow mask -- and two prominent ridges were formed at the top of the mask. I was fascinated by the shape. The whole thing left me amazed. I grabbed my camera, snapped shots of the images, sketched over them lightly on the wall, and taped paper up to RESKETCH the images exactly as they appeared on the wall. Later, I painted the mask image alone on a pane of glass....somehow I want to work reflection with a play on art and light....
Anyway, after this odd encounter came another strange session. A few weeks passed. I trudged on through life, working as per usual. Creative Clay had scheduled a field trip for our students to see a peformance of Japanse story telling at the Mahaffey Theater. I was asked to go along on that field trip. It was a very good performance, though what fascinated me was the part about the Fox. The fox is a shape shifting creature in ancient Japanese lore. The story teller pulled out a beautiful white mask that represented the fox: It was the same general outline/shape as the mask upon the wall.
And again, several weeks later, the mask saga created another chapter. The mirrors and mask remained on the deck. Once again, a rainy day came. Overcast and gloomy, I turned on the deck light to get some reading done. Once again, my "other" mask appeared. However, it had been moved (probably the pugs walking around it). Now the image appeared lower and more central to the light diamonds. What was also very odd is that this mask was SMILING. A mouth had appeared on it. Again, I do not know how. The original golden mask that is producing these images is only a half mask. It has no mouth, ending at the eyes. But, who am I to question? Once again, I sketched the image on the wall and onto paper. I took photos of it (not developed at this time). We will see where the mask is leading me.
Later, I found the mask totally removed from the mirrors. It sat next to my exercise bike. Did the pugs move it? Has the mask finished its communication with me? I don't know. For now, I have placed it near the mirrors. I think it will decide where to go from there!
(Left) The inspiration -- the mask and it's "counterpart", Right: The RESULT: This is the first work I made from the reflected mask image:
A Unique Experience and the Art It Produced
Masks are something that humanity has used since rituals were first begun. They are elements of transformation; with a mask on we are no longer ourselves. We take on the personality and characteristics of the entity we wear.
I have now created my first metallic mask (below). I call it the "Mask of Lillith" due to it's owlish and feminine nature. It is by no means a negative creation, but represents the power of the feminine.
I have had another unique creation with masks, shadows and reflections also chronicled below. (Scroll down).
"Mask of Lillith" above.
Brass, aluminum, coated wire, tulle.
Winter Mask....custom order. These are the tentative images only! 2004.
Comments from Jan K., the woman who bought the mask:
I am so excited! The mask arrived and everyone loves it. It is really great as I knew it would be. I would love to tell everyone about it and let them see how great it is. Maybe I'll go to Mardi Gras and wear it--LOL.
I am still thinking of how to display it. It occurs to me that I could suspend it from some wire in the ceiling and let it move with the breeze, but then again, a wig head draped in black velvet would make a great showing too.
Thanks so much for making it for me. I am so pleased I can't begin to tell you how much I just love it. I knew I would.