I was at Metropolitan Museum of Arts in New York a while ago taking random photos of artifacts from Africa. I somehow was always fascinated by masks and the idea of hiding behind the mask. I opened my Wikipedia app on the phone and started reading why and how masks were used in African tribes and around the world and how each mask represents different "spirit"
This mask is exceptionally awesome. And it is actually from Papua New Guinea. Masks are actually rare in that part of the world and this type of mask represent a dangerous spirit named Kokorra.
I started doing some research and found a lot of masks with very tall and narrow shape, something that reminded me of a skateboard. I thought it would be awesome to design one that can be used both for skating and putting it on a wall like a real mask in the museum or even wear it.
This was last year And this project is one of those that I started long time ago and completely abandoned it. And just a glimpse of other style helped me restart the project and finish it couple of weeks ago.
Why did I abandon it? I put together a mood board with different masks I found online and images of stylized masks from photography or other design pieces. Back then I knew I wanted to do a whole set to explore design aspect of it as well make different masks represent different things. The idea was that they only work when they are all together.
I started to sketch in Photoshop using Wacom and I think I spent a whole day just drawing that sketch in the middle, the pink one. It was way too detailed, and when I decided to make a vector version of it with more precise lines in Illustrator it just didn't go anywhere. It also looked a bit too ugly.
Project remained on a sketch level for over a year until recently I came across Ikko Tenaka's work, a Japanese graphic designer. I was a long time fan of his work, but running into this posters again at a right moment, just clicked with me, I remembered about my long lost project with skateboards. That would be a good style to look into I thought. It is much simpler, less literal and clearly faster to create a whole set of different masks. Just seeing this made me look for a lost folder on my computer, open Photoshop and start trying things out right away.
An evening later I ended up with a whole set of boards. I created a grid to base all my designs on, so all decks look somewhat consistent. I was looking at making some very symmetrical and some unsymmetrical using different elements on different sides of the deck.
Here are all 6 I designed in color. While I was designing them I was thinking about what each mask can represent. The first one look like an old man with blue beard, it doesn't look frightening or scary, it represents "wisdom". The second one is black with neon color, looks like you would wear it when going for a fight, it represents "courage". I like the green one too, looks like a camouflage for hiding in the jungle, it makes you invisible and it represent "stealth". And so on.
I decided to print only three just to test it out. So I asked friends around which ones out of six look the best. For printing I got back to a company in Colorado I used previously Boardpusher. They allow to print one-off boards in a relatively quick time. Totally recommend them.
Some photos of the boards mounted on the wall. The next thing I want to do is to take photos of this exact board but with actual riders around NYC.
And a logo.