Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rainforest Faces

 I recently went with a friend to the lovely Selby Gardens in Sarasota, FL, to see the annual Rainforest Mask Exhibit. A family of artisans from Boruca in Costa Rica work year-round creating these masks from soft balsa wood and then hand-paint each one with acrylic color.

 As you can see from the drawing above, I had my sketchbook handy and was drawn to this particular face. Many of the masks portrayed a face of some sort, known as a Diablito intended to ward off enemies, but some masks featured flowers, birds, frogs, and other rainforest creatures. I LOVED all the scary fanged faces, such as this one...

Haha! He is so cool. I wanted to buy him but he was sold, as was practically the entire show!

It's obvious that the artistic process to create one of these masks involves a lot of skill. I was most impressed by the quality of carving and the vibrant colors, patterns, and details. On average, a design is carved in 3 days, then painted in another 3 days, so nearly a week of hard work before one can be called "finished". If you are interested in learning more about these masks, check out this overview presented by Selby Gardens. 

Here are a few pics of my other favorites (awesome fangs).


Meghan said...

Awesome! We saw some great local craft work like that while in Costa Rica. =) Glad you had a chance to see it & had your sketchbook along too.

Adele Hawkins said...

I love how you warped the face in your second sketch!