Styling herself as a “character facilitator”, or genuinely crazy artist, mask maker Shay Lhea has been crafting these stunning masquerade creations since 2013. Her line of wearable art, Oculto Masks, may mean ‘Hidden’ in Spanish, but she has no problem revealing the truth behind why she designs such far-out costume pieces.
What she says about her art is more revealing and more personal than you would think for a maker of masks. Drawing inspiration from Steampunk fashion, films, and what she finds at the fabric store, Shay uses her dark imagination and her unique brand of weirdness to bring alter egos to life through the masks she creates.
She may have started out crafting her own Mardi Gras accessories, but this self-taught artist soon blossomed into something more. She now creates masks, not to conceal, but as a way for clients to reveal something that they wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing without a disguise.
But it’s what she shares with us that will explain the hidden story behind the masks and why a mask chooses you as much as you choose it.