Stephen Jon Mask Maker : Twenty years as a maker, educator and performer
Stephen Jon Cooper: Taking a step back from SJ the Mask-Maker to find SJ the Artist. Since 2018 Stephen has focused on the practice of drawing in order to discover where this work will take him next.
The primary paradox of the mask is as an object of concealment which also reveals. This paradox also contains the seeds of many other contradictions: is it an art or a craft? When is it art and when is it therapy…and for whom? Is it an abstraction or a personification of an abstract idea (an archetype)? Is it a product of an individual endeavour or of a collective process? Of course it is all of these things and more.
I have sought through my work, for a personal mythology, to materialize the unimaginable. I have sort for metaphors in which to visualize ephemera barely glimpsed at on the edges of consciousness. Theatre, being the most ephemeral of the arts, has always informed my practice, be that as performance, 2D or 3D work.
“The Mask” can be seen as a distillation of the theatre experience, acting as a doorway into the realm of the imagination where the ordinary becomes extra-ordinary and where the unexpected can and will happen.