We spend so much time complaining about wearing it, we might not have noticed how much the mask has come to define the past year, physically, emotionally and, yes, visually.
But Phil Gayter, artist and ad man, has noticed, and is painting a series of masked portraits.
“I decided to do a self-portrait, painting myself with bright yellow gloves and an N95 mask. That was the start,” said Gayter, who lives in Highland Park. “It was going to be a one-off. As the pandemic was setting in, I was spending more and more time at home, I had my daughter over, and I did a portrait of her in a mask.”
Artists tend to work in themes — blue periods, haystacks series and such. Gayter saw potential in the masked subject.
“All of a sudden I thought something’s going on here that I really, really like,” he said. “A coming together of myself as an artist and a business thinker, coming up with an idea that holds together. That’s what I do for my clients, create branded messages. The mask proved to be that point of distinction, allowing me to think of a collection of paintings that capture the moment, poignant yet whimsical.”
Gayter, 63, was born in England.
”I went to Manchester Metropolitan School of Art and studied as a fine artist,” he said. “But being a working-class kid, being a painter was not going to make me financially secure, so I moved into advertising.”
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