Project #1: Hybrid Cultural Mask
Class of: 2025
Major: Design and Technology BFA
Medium: Mixed Media: Yarn, Embroidery Thread, Aluminum Wire, Thread, Satin Fabric, Acrylic Paint
Faculty: Aviva Shulem
Prompt: In this project, students are tasked with developing a 3D “hybrid mask” inspired by elements of an ancient culture, principles of Beauty, and personal interpretation of its usage in the current time. Is this mask a metaphor for our state of mind? Our emotions? Our physical being? Etc. Think of: How can Beauty be an inspiration for art and design practice? How do the five senses influence one’s interpretation of Beauty? How can Beauty affect one beyond the physical meaning of haptic? This Project aims to find new ways of defining our subjective understanding of the meaning of Beauty. Beauty can be experienced; Beauty can be emotional; Beauty can bring texture; Beauty can bring sexuality; beauty can be warmed & can add richness to life, etc. Personal perspective and life experience shape our perception of what we find inspiring and beautiful.
My concept was to combine elements from my cultures into a piece that represents the ancient culture’s clothing and accessories. The cultures I chose was Korean and Spanish. I decided that I wanted to create a mask that was similar to the shape of the Mantilla (veil), which is where I started and then I added elements from the Hanbok (clothing) and Norigae (beaded and braided accessory). I throughly enjoyed this process and I feel like I learned a lot more about creating three dimensional pieces since I’m so used to two dimensional. My initial concept was to create something that I felt represented elements of my cultures that I feel distant to being bicultural in America. I wanted to take these traditional pieces worn by these ancient cultures and create it into my interpretation of it. Something that represents my artistic style and connection to these cultures. I wanted to create a mask that does the opposite of what it’s supposed to, I want it to show my emotion and celebration for my cultures rather than try to mask them away. This is why I created it to only partially cover the face. I chose a cohesive color palette of pink and blue to show how growing up with multiple cultures can be harmonious. I wanted to use materials that I find interesting and that I have used before to relate to how the Hanbok has changed over time and how it was modernized by the type of fabric it’s made with. I felt it also important to add the Norigae because my grandmother gave one to my dad that was passed onto me recently and it was a really important piece to me growing up.