Paper Mache Mask • 20″x16″ • Private Collection

Pictured above is my swan project, completed during a week-long collage course. Based on the creative seed-planting process of the Dadaists, four random bits of inspiration were drawn from a hat (assuming people wear plastic bags as hats). I pulled two bits of text (“HEARD ON THE STREET” and “YOUTH PROGRAM”), a photo of a set of dentures soaking in a glass of water and a weather map depicting high temperatures across the United States. Our task was to create a paper mache mask combining the happenstance elements.

The convergence of those seemingly unrelated elements pointed me towards the idea of urban youth frolicking in an illegally opened fire hydrant on a hot summer day. The resulting mask may serve as a modern day, ceremonial, waterdance headdress. In addition to the overt references, including wrench and fireplug silhouettes and text (IT’S GONNA BE A HOT ONE” and “”OPENING A FIRE HYDRANT IS A CRIME”), the mask covertly suggests the shape of the sun and tribal (African, South American and North American) aesthetic elements. (more…)