Charlie Clark : Tell us a bit about your background
Steve Wintercroft : I’m an obsessive creator, as a child I used to build model boats and airplanes with my granddad and I have never stopped. I studied art and design, then furniture studies and started building surfboards as a teenager. I’ve worked as a cabinet maker but have spent most of my time working as a full time surfboard shaper. I’ve always designed and made things and usually have a good number of projects on the go at any one time including furniture, pottery and wooden tableware to name a few.
CC : How did you get into making masks?
SW : A couple of years ago, I received an invite to a friend’s Halloween party but struggling for costume ideas and short of time, I raided the recycling bin and gathered together a pile of old cardboard. Then sat down with some parcel tape, a pair of scissors and plenty of hot tea. An hour or so later and after some trial and error I had made myself an animal mask. The mask was well received so I decided to redesign it and make the templates available and accessible to everyone. The low environmental impact and the accessible craft of making the masks are important parts of the process for me. So the goal was to create a set of masks that could be built by anyone, using local materials, removing the need for mass manufacturing or shipping and with the minimum environmental impact.
CC : What are your favorite materials to work with? Why?
SW : I enjoy working in a very wide range of materials, and in the past I have focused on traditional craft skills in wood, clay and metal. More recently alongside these traditional crafts I’ve been working with 3D design software, paper and card. Most of the masks that I build are made from reclaimed card. I enjoy the process of taking a waste two dimensional material and with cuts and folds turning it into a three dimensional mask or model.
CC : What are some things that inspire your work?
SW : Most of the masks are either things that I would like for myself or designs that customers have requested. Some have been designed for specific events or photo shoots for example the Chihuahua was designed for an Italian music video.
CC : Describe your creative process – how do you come up with an idea for a new piece?
SW : After choosing a subject or theme I will collect images and using these for reference I build a 3D digital model. With the software that I use this modelling process is similar to sculpting in clay. I start by building a fairly life like model of the animal but in order for it to work as mask I modify the features to make it more anthropomorphic. I’ll then strip down and simplify the model as much as possible while retaining its key features. After that it is a long process of building paper models, testing, revising and remodelling. each new mask usually takes around three to four weeks to develop.
CC : Can you tell us about a piece / project that you worked on recently that you’re particularly proud / fond of.
SW : Since I started building card masks I have been working with some pretty amazing people. Some of the work that I am most fond of has been the collaboration with Kyla Fear from Fearless photography and Shannon Faber. Shannon is responsible painting the beautiful masks in these photos and Kyla for the stunning photography.
CC : Where do you see yourself in a year? in five years?
SW : I always have a head full of new ideas and new projects so it is difficult to say but I’ll be happy as long as I’m still creating new things.
I'm a creative coder living in Brooklyn. I keep myself busy pushing pixels at B-Reel, building interactive data visualizations and curating WAVA.