I think I have finally settled on an idea for upcycling project: keeping with the Afrofuturism aesthetic I chose last week, I am going to make an Afrofuturistic Tribal Mask.
Some of my favorite projects have always been headwear, mostly helmets but now a mask. I think the reason I enjoy doing them so much is that you can convey so much on a headpiece, and we as humans biologically recognize a lot in the face and head. Potentially the most universally recognized assortment of shapes are two dots and a curve; a smiley face!
Pictured above are some of the sketches I have done to try to imagine what a futuristic African mask might look like. My main strategy is to choose modern engineered materials that mimic natural resources traditionally used in mask making. Where a traditional African art piece would use wood, I will use cardboard in the goal of invoking the same traditional design but with futuristic (modern household) materials. Instead of carved beads I use LED lights, instead of hairs and fibers I use 3D printed filament ‘spaghetti’ (tangled plastic filament waste).
Below are some of the materials I have gathered so far.
From left to right: Big cardboard box good for panels, 3D printing filament waste, 3D printing filament spools, and a bunch of colorful LED lights. For all except the spools I am pretty confident on how I might use them, I will keep trying to think of a way to incorporate them. My next steps first include sketching exactly or near exactly what I want the project to look like, I expect to finish that by the end of this week. From there I will need to make a very rough mockup of the design in CAD, mainly the face panels so I can download the files to be laser cut. I can hopefully get the CAD done quickly and cut the cardboard next Monday. From there I will do what assembly I can over the week, and finish up the rest the weekend before the 19th.
Currently I am still in the process of feeling out what I want the mask to look like, and I have been looking at pictures of existing African masks. Below are a few masks that I really like, and even one that is a piece of concept art for an afrofuturism short film being released sometime in the future.