Totem Masks Several years ago, I started my adventure into my Totem series. This style opened additional avenues to research and explore. The low surface gave me more space to impliment my interest in graphic shapes and the juxtaposition of colors.I am always thinking of color. My color sense is my own, I have developed and fine tuned it for years. This series has many facets to draw you into their world. I hope you see the many different ideas and narrations that fly through my thoughts. These masks have the ability to touch people in many ways. Cheers Jeffrey Zigulis
Jeffrey Zigulis began his Dream Mask series as presents for schoolmates of his young son, Matthew. He told the children that the masks could help scare away bad dreams. One little boy was careful to see that his baby brother had his mask nearby whenever he was sleeping. Something about the masks, that were inspired by African, Mexican, and Micronesian masks resonates for most people who see them. With each group he makes, the series changes, some groups are whimsical, others are dramatic and powerful. Each clay mask is scraped, carved, and burnished before it is fired and painted with acrylics and accented with colored electrical wire hair. The color combinations used are influenced by Joseph Albers’ Color Theories. The evolution of the colors Zigulis uses are inspired by snorkeling trips to Molokai and Maui, and an interest in the colors and patterns found on the wings of butterflies and moths. Known for his Dancing Man Series, Black Raku Vases with Bamboo, Pyramid series, and Doll series, Zigulis also explored large scale assemblage, and is always collecting found objects for his need to experiment in that medium. Zigulis characteristically moves traditional forms and methods in new directions to produce styles that are uniquely his own. Zigulis grew up in Mountain View, California in the 60’s and 70’s. He graduated from San Jose State University in 1979. After college Zigulis taught at Foothill and Ohlone colleges along with lecturing and leading workshops throughout the country. Zigulis and his wife Nancy have lived in Monterey County, Sonoma County and now have a home and studio on the south end of beautiful Camano Island, Washington.
I have long been infatuated with abstract painting. While in art school in California we studied all the great painters. Nothing touched me like the Abstract Expressionist Movement. Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline this style touched me like no other. I have always loved to paint. As a very small boy I would spend hours with my crayons, making wild circles and shapes with a black crayon then using different colors to fill in the voids and create a treasure trove of color! Always trying desperately to stay within the lines. I have evolved to the point that at times I can’t see the lines, always to be reeled in by my basic foundation of order. To this point, my “Painted Masks” have followed a specific language or alphabet to guide me through each mask. I have varied the color families at times, but they all come from the same beginning. These masks range from 72” tall to 20” with every size in between. I enjoy working up commission pieces from this style. Working with a specific color family that may be out of my comfort zone, has an exhilarating effect and produces exciting results.
My Money Series is the newest venture into interesting techniques that create a collage effect with the use of paper money from foreign countries. I use images of real money from all over the world. I cover the mask to build up a rhythm with colors and different graphic images found on the bills. As you approach the masks you can’t tell why they interest you. Until you start to inspect the surface, the bills are not obvious.
My Japanese Paper Masks are an explosion of rich colors, delicious structure, and a collage effect that instantly draw you into their sophisticated style. While visiting a paper store in Berkeley, California I fell in love with “Washi” paper. I knew I had to find a way to use these beautiful sheets of magical color and stories. There are many different styles incorporated in Washi paper. The handmade paper is imported from Japan, silk-screened with sensual color and sometimes texture. It can be a simple repetitive design or as intricate as story telling on paper. I have found Washi paper that depicts ceremonies such as Sumo and Geisha celebrations. Many examples use Japanese calligraphy to create strength and movement. When I “work” up the surface of a mask I need to be very careful to follow the “flow” of the color and images. I incorporate color, images and visual texture to build up a collage that wraps the mask with interesting and addicting curiosity. Your eye actually follows the images, like you were reading a map. One beautiful piece of paper follows another in an evolution of fine and sophisticated colors and images. I select a theme as I choose paper for a given mask. I start by tearing pieces of paper into abstract shapes. As I apply each piece the design radiates from the starting point. I soak each piece in wall paper glue, and then lay the piece on the ceramic mask. I smooth and burnish each piece so you can slide your hand over the finished design without detecting the edges. After the mask is completed it dries for several days. At that point I brush on up to four coats of polyurethane to preserve and protect the paper.