The Souls in Masks

Dick Crispo’s Mask Collection

When we’re looking at masks, you’re looking at the human form put into different variations of the human face. But what we’re really looking at, in the end, is the soul. And for me, I want the soul to be in my painting as well as in the mask. 

It may not be the same soul, but I consider the soul universal. When I make the universal personal, and the personal universal, the mask, for me, comes closest to it. In my years of study in psychology, one of the things I became fascinated with was Carl Jeung’s description of masks. This has been the case even when I was very young. Of course, Jeung’s description was one way to look at it from the educated European perspective.

In the end, to go back to the mask, you have to go to these places to truly understand. You have to be there to capture the sense of the people by being with the people. And you’re just taking a part of the people home with you. 

In one sense, this is what the people wanted. This is because they were selling them and needed the money. Or for various reasons, they were getting rid of the masks. In my case, they know that I really, deeply appreciated what they did. 

I’ve been collecting masks since I was 9 years old. Today, I’m 76 years old and I’ve never stopped collecting them since. In the videos below, I talk about my travels to different parts of the world and the masks from these travels.

In video number one above, we see a Bolivian face mask made from a gas can. Also, we see masks from Lake Pátzcuaro from the Mexico highlands as well as masks from Michoacan.

In video number two, talk about different dance masks from Bali and Venezuelan masks, made from baskets. We also see more masks from Mexico and Central Africa and Caribbean masks. I also explain the psychology in my abstract art, including elements of spirit, pain, and good.

In video number three, I talk about the Silver Milagros, late 19th-century masks, central Mexican highlands, and the Otomi people.

In video number four, I talk about my masks from Indonesia and Garuda masks. As well as masks from India. There was also a time when I was working for the state department when I was in Nicaragua and El Salvador while there were civil wars going on. I show a mesh mask and give some history on that as well. And, I talk about some masks from Guatemala and Africa.

In this fifth and final video, I talk about what the masks mean to me as they relate to my art. I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into my masks collection.

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