I ran into Neckface at Max Fish and wanted to know about his metal mask installation at O.H.W.O.W.‘s It Ain’t Fair, months ago back in Miami. I had seen his high polished chrome masks before (many of them were used in his November Devil’s Disciple also in Miami) but nothing like these tarnished pieces. We ducked into a back booth and he unwillingly lent me a quick interview. I asked about the emotion on the faces. He said “It comes out while making the masks. When I’m hitting the metal, listening to Judas Priest and singing out loud.” They’ve got that sly feeling to them, evoke raw emotion. They seem to be equally ecstatic and full of pain. In middle school, Neck learned metal working and wanted to make metal Mexican wrestling masks. The masks evolved into what you see today: supremely alien, longingly ugly, and threatening. He says the metal work is inspired by Ned Kelly, an Australian bushranger in the mid-1800s who according to Neck “killed a bunch of cops wearing metal suiting.” Kelly is an official folk hero and symbol who used his ingenuity to show unmeasured strength and defiance. Imagine Neckface as a modern-day Kelly of the street art world. It then makes sense that his masks are also inspired by cheese graters. “If you rub your body on cheese graters you get hurt.” Ouch.
images courtesy of Karina Ors of O.H.W.O.W.