We came across the @_false_face Instagram account with its array of masks and face coverings and wanted to find about more. The man behind the mask you could say is Jym Davis. Here Jym shares with us some of his world of False Faces.
Underground: You always post portraits of masks. What’s the meaning behind it?
Jym: We live in an era where our faces are recorded and on display constantly. I think that has led to a big movement towards anonymity and mystery. Masks are also a universal thing. Every culture from around the world has some unique and interesting masking tradition.
Underground: Why did you choose to have an IG page dedicated to masks?
Jym: I make masks myself, so I started the False Face account to save and research mask designs from around the world. As the False Face account took off it became a way to connect globally with other artists. It has led to collaborations and art shows with some amazing creators.
I have another Instagram which features my personal mask creations: https://www.instagram.com/jymdavis/
Underground: Is there a specific kind of masks you choose?
Jym: I prefer very raw and hand-made looking masks. I started making masks myself to get away from the store-bought, plastic design of masks. I like masks made by artists that are unique and not mass produced.
The most interesting masks are made from traditional materials like paper or wood. I personally use a self-taught Papier-mâchétechnique that allows me to use acrylic paint for colour and designs.
Underground: What does a mask represent for you? Does it have a social, political meaning for you?
Jym: I rarely have a political angle with the artwork that I create or post. I am more interested in the idea of transformation. I like the theatrical idea of putting on a mask and becoming something else.
A mask can transform the way you move or interact with other people. They allow you to escape your identity and step outside of yourself.
Underground: What is your inspiration for researching the photos and how much time do you spend on your IG page?
Jym: I look for strange and usual mask images, but I try to avoid gimmicky photos from horror movies or metal bands. I like images that leave something to the viewers imagination.
Sometimes an interesting mask image from a winter carnival can led someone else to do more research. Last week someone sent me images they took at a masking festival called Silvesterklausenin Urnäsch, Switzerland. They travelled to the remote festival because of one of my posts. That blew my mind a little bit.
Underground: How many masks do you have and when do you started collecting them?
Jym: I own masks from around the world, but I am not really a serious collector of other people’s masks. Most of the masks on display in my house are ones I make and sell. At any given moment I can have 40 to 50 of my masks on display. When they sell, I ship them out and create new ones.
Underground: Which is your favourite mask of your collection?
Jym: My favourite masks are the ones I made and modelled in United States National Parks. I have done five Artist-In-Residencies in Parks and the masks I make there always take me back to a time and place. I just sold a very large Alligator mask that I made in the South Florida swamps. That is one particular mask that means a lot.
Check out the IG account at @falsefaces