3D printed masks exploring life, feminity and future of art

14 Mar

3D printed masks exploring life, feminity and future of art

Visual artist Delphine Diallo has gained attention recently for her thoughtful provocative photographs and mixed media works that are challenging traditional roles of genders as well as race in the media. Initially using photography to represent women, women with color with authentic and honest way, Diallo has started to incorporate the new technology of 3D printing in her authentic artwork.

Ritual, Diallo’s recent project was inspired by Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth. It was a new photo/performance series with Diallo and a cast of dancers in 3D-printed masks. This portrays the Masks of Eternity as well as the urge to combine ancient mythologies with the modern day technologies. That resulted in a series of stunning portraits of women wearing 3D printed masks that reflects feminity, life and spirituality. The masks are geometric faces that are at once human and otherworldly, honoring the capabilities of personalized 3D technology as a fertile technique for artists.

3D printed masks


Diallo paired up with Nate Kolbeck who is the founder of 3D printing startup 3D Brooklyn as she did not have any expertise in 3D printing. Kolbeck helped Diallo to get her ideas to fruition. The four masks that they designed together reflects diffrence themes of spirituality and we're manufactured them on a Projet 660 Pro 3D out of a gypsum powder. Diallo’s most pronounced photos are a celebration of the female form, concurrently uplifting sensuality and spirituality. Her portraits offer an important patina to the lives of the women she documents, capturing their true essences and powerful spirits.

The masks were based on 3D scans of Diallo’s own face, all masks bears resemblance to a human face. Also each possess a different surreal technological quality. The most bizarre among them was the mask which appears to have three faces was based on Aztec ceremonial mask from 1300 A.D. that portrays three aspects birth, life and death. Diallo says, “I’ve always love to add masks in my portraits to express different states of emotions. It was an opportunity to push the boundary and use a new technology. One of the masks is my face duplicated three times.” Kolbeck has worked with artists to digitally model the masks and 3D print them says, “Artists are fearless. They embrace new ideas and see potential much faster than society as a whole. Working with them helps us expand our own vision for the future.”

3D printed masks?

Diallo wanted to explore themes of life and death for the photo shoot of the three faced mask. The final compositions consist of Diallo herself painted completely in white, surrounded by broken egg shells, wearing the 3D printed mask. For Diallo, the process was an extremely personal one, she says: “I recently lost someone that I deeply love and processing this ritual through photography was an important part of connecting with the idea of the soul, rebirth, and a healing process to get the pain out of the body.”

3D printed masks

Diallo has been studying and working with art for most of her life, and was inspired to create and represent natural beauty and spirit of people by photographer Peter Beard. She had assisted Peter Beard on a Pirelli calendar shoot in Botswana (2008). And also became integrated in iconic frames with elephants and other wild life for her natural beauty. As she explains, “I wanted to create a new photography world where all my subjects are connected with their soul and match a more universal idea of beauty. Not one imposed by the media.”

Recently incorporating 3D printing in her work, Diallo demonstrates how fearless she is, as the scope of her work continues to grow and her attempts to challenge the existing norms of beauty are become progressively fascinating.

Image Credit: The Artist

Chris Joel (Author)

3D printed masks exploring life, feminity and future of art
Chris Joel is a writer at 3D Printers Online Store. Hailing from South London, he has a degree in English Literature. His interests include the application of 3D printing technology to art and its popularization.