Masks become works of art when designed by local artists



With masks on our minds — not to mention our faces — we thought it would be fun to invite a few local artists to dream up their own mask designs. These artists were free to envision masks that were practical and could actually be worn or to create a mask that exists only as an art project.

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It’s something you might consider doing as a family as well.

Here’s what inspired them, in their own words:




There are lots of masks to create but the only masks on my mind are the kind that will protect our neighbors. It's the most important mask right now.

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I was inspired to create a pattern for a mask that illustrates how most of us feel. We don’t know what’s up or down, true or false, what day it is, or how to entertain, educate and enrich our children’s lives in these strange times. We are all uncertain and turned around right now but within that disarray, we can still find plenty of smiles. Eventually, we will find the way back to normal.

Beck, an illustrator and fine artist, is also a graphic designer for the University of Dayton. You can find his work online at or visit two recent large-scale installations at the Wilmington-Stroop Library and at Levitt Pavilion.




The idea for my mask design surfaced as I listened to the debate over schools reopening and the ways in which teachers are going to keep masks on the kids in their classroom.

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A humorous description I heard from someone who works in education is that kids will just end up using the mask to pick their nose! So my mask is a visual, humorous depiction of that.

Haper’s work combines different mediums and techniques. His latest series incorporates formal aspects of painting, textural elements — such as puff ink and resin scraps — and images from the internet which he prints over the painted, textured surface. He currently has three paintings in a group show at Dana L. Wiley Gallery, 1001 E. 2nd St. See more of Haper’s work at, or find him on Instagram and Facebook.




After considering a number of mask ideas, I settled on a design that would reflect the thoughts that have been uppermost in my mind most recently. I have been thinking about civil rights activist John Lewis.

I am so thankful that I saw him speak at Sinclair in 2016 and I have admired him for years. I don’t know if I would have the courage and persistence that he needed to endure the indignities he suffered throughout his many years of peaceful protest on behalf of African-Americans and people of color. I decided to create a mask to commemorate this great man.

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My mask, which is fully functional, is made of handmade papers. I chose a variety of skin colors — red, black, white, yellow, tan, and brown — and wove them together. Across the top of the mask is a swath of blue for the Arkansas River, a subtle reference to the Edmund Pettis bridge and Bloody Sunday. I finished the mask by writing “GOOD TROUBLE” across the face because Lewis noted that when we see injustice, we should be willing to create “good trouble, necessary trouble.”

Most of my work is paper collage on canvas. I love the colors, textures, and malleability of paper, and treat the paper much like paint.

You can see Pippinger’s work in local collections at Kettering Library, Northwest Library and Children’s Hospital. She works and sells art out of her studio and welcomes visitors. She’s located at 447 E. Monument Ave. in downtown Dayton.




When COVID-19 first hit Dayton, I felt powerless and stressed. Making masks, when few were available, helped me feel more in control. At first, I only donated the masks to hospitals. Then I wanted to do more to help a local small business, so now my masks are available through the Clash website along with the amazing Pop Culture masks made by Gretta from Apothecary Obscura.

My masks are each handmade using fabrics I designed on my iPad using the program Procreate. Then I upload the design to Spoonflower and select the type of fabric I want to use. For most of my masks I am using two layers of cotton with a layer of polyester hydro-knit sewn into the center. They also include a wire at the nose for a more secure fit and Lycra ear straps that are easier on the ears. I also created a few gaiter-style masks of my Crystal Cat and Crystal Dog designs with some Lycra fabric.

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Recently, I learned to quilt during a virtual class with Jesy at Needle, Ink and Thread in Beavercreek, so I made some quilted masks using a combo of my custom fabric and some store-bought squares. Those are my favorite masks because they have such a unique look and remind me of my paintings.

Anderson currently has artwork on display at Clash, upstairs at The Gem City Catfé, The Contemporary Dayton Member’s Show and in the Downtown Dayton Partnership “Art in the City Virtual Juried Art Exhibition.” You can also view her artwork at the Nowhere in Particular Cabinet of Curiosities brewery in Kettering or on her website




Most of the work I do is focused on celebrating the contributions of Africans and African Americans to humanity and civilization. My work also shines a light on some of the ugliness in history that has been, too often, ignored or hidden.

The heart and soul of racism is ignorance. I build visual narratives that are designed to raise the level of awareness to the historical inequities that contribute to that ignorance. Historical awareness has the power to liberate black people from the bondage of feeling inadequate and unworthy. The whole truth about the history of America, The United States of America and its black citizens, also, have the power to liberate most white people from the feeling of racial superiority and entitlement.

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Historical awareness is the prescribed medicine that will begin the healing process for our country and allow it to move forward with its citizens truly understanding that, “All men (and women) are created equal”.

The title of my mask is “Upon the Middle Passage.” The medium is digital painting.

Daniel’s work can be seen at the Trotwood Library, University of Dayton, Dayton Boys Preparatory Academy at Roosevelt Commons, Care Source, Central State University and Wilberforce. He can be reached at



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