Mask Arts Company

Masks and Props for Photography Shoots Fashion also Art and Masks of 9/11

Wrestling Button Commedia dell Arte Button Custom Masks & Props Button Masks for Theatre Dance Film Productions Button Masks Props for Fashion Photo Shoots Art & 9/11 Button Teaching  Workshops Directing  Plays Acting Button Links Friends & Judiaca Button Custom Clown Noses Button

I receive calls from the fashion and advertising industry with special requests including an Indiana Jones-style leather bag, unique masks or props such as a replication of the bunny mask worn for Truman Capote's birthday. I have re-dyed leather for photography shoots and also made custom pieces such as the mask on the cover of Jeffery Deaver's novel The Vanished Man.
Designed feline hi-fashion mask for photo shoot Custom crafted Bunny half-mask, furry Rabbit ears and face Fashion leather Cat mask, stitched sections for photo shoot
The cat mask was made for Super Model Danielle. The bunny mask was made for a magazine that came out for Fashion Week 2001. The photo shoot replicated Truman Capote's birthday. Fashion week was canceled that year because of 9/11, but here is a photo of the mask. Those that know the photo will recognize the mask.

To the right is a custom Indiana Jones style bag made for a photo shoot.

Another photo shoot needed the color changed for a pair of boxing gloves.

If you have a need let me know what it is and I will quickly tell you if I can help you out.

Indiana Jones style bag leather satchel rough look Shoulder style bag
The Vanished Man book cover mask

Jeffery Deaver 
The Vanished Man

I created this mask for the book cover. They were looking all over the world for an off-the-shelf mask and could not find it. They ended up commissioning me for this one-of-a-kind mask.


Art

These items are made only when I feel like it. Leather trays, masks and other things. If an item has a price next to it in this section that means it is for sale. If it does not have a price next to it, that means it has most likely been sold. Back to the Top

Leather Art 3/4 mask

Open Studio Group Show at
J. Steffens Studio

405 West 44th (between 9th & 10 Avenue) New York, NY

These masks below are in the Open Group Show.

One of a kind mask coming out one of a kind

Comedy & Tragedy

Leather bowl Leather trays. Each one is unique and is freehand molded. I never used these until I made some for an art show and, when one did not sell, I found out these are useful. All the small things that you do not know where to put goes into this tray very well. I also use them for fruit and nuts. Back to the Top

Masks of 9/11

This series of masks are special to me and represent part of my experience the week of 9/11 in NYC. The World Trade Center, or as we called it that week, Ground Zero or The Pile is about a 20 minute walk from my studio. Back to the Top

That morning of September 11th was the New York City Democratic Primary. I went to early morning minyan at the Chelsea Synagogue next to the famous Chelsea Hotel on 23rd Street, then went to vote on 18th Street off of 8th Avenue in Manhattan, four and half blocks away from my 14th Street apartment. After voting, I went to an electronic repair place to drop off a remote for my sound system and, on my way there, I saw an airliner fly over my head. I said to a stranger, "That's too low. That pilot is going to be in trouble." About six months later, I remembered the low flying plane.


Walked
in the repair shop and news1 was on. Everyone was watching. A very short time before I walked in, the first plane crashed into the Tower. Then we saw the second plane.


The
short walk toward home down 7th Avenue, I saw my fire engine company, (that saved my building from burning down several years before), screaming down 7th Avenue. For most of them, it would be their final call. Every time a fire engine passes me now I think of 9/11.


The
smoke streamed from the towers. That day I planned to complete a set of Commedia dell'Arte masks for a good friend of mine. I turned on the TV then turned it off. I turned on the radio and got to work. Then the first Tower fell. Went on my roof. They had 7th Avenue blocked off all the way down to the Trade Center. Saint Vincent's Hospital took over the street; everyone was on the street. It was a time to be with the people of NYC on the street. (Update 9/11/2014: Saint Vincent hospital is now gone. The management team of Enron went into the hospital management business - which is why Saint Vincent hospital is now being turned into apartments.)


Walked
two blocks south to 12th Street and 7th avenue, the beginning of Saint Vincent's Hospital. Out on the street, they had dozens of beds on wheels, office chairs all with white sheets ready for victims, dozens of IV poles with bags of various life saving liquids ready to plug into bodies. Everyone was looking south.


About
a 20-minute walk away from what was the World Trade Center. The second tower came down. My friend that just got a job that summer working at Canter Fitzgerald died then, his son was born two weeks later.

I asked a NYPD officer, "Do they need any blood?" He told me to stay there and he went and checked. Coming back he said, "Yes." I yelled out, "They need blood." The NYPD officer said, "Line up single file." And about 100 of us snaked through the medical teams waiting for survivors. Very few survivors were coming.


We
got in line on 11th Street. The line quickly grew so far I could not see the end, the "type O" blood people were separated out. About an hour after the Second Tower collapsed we heard the first sound of our US Air Force and saw them streaking across the Manhattan sky for the first time. The comments were mixed. Very few people cheered, many people were silent. Several of us said, "a little late aren't you" and similar things. There was lots of talk about how quickly are Air Force could get to NYC from people who had served in the Air Force. Weeks later I thought of how our great NORAD pilots were sitting on the runway in their F16s (or F17s or F18s), sitting, waiting for orders. I cannot imagine how frustrated our pilots must have been on 9/11.


I
never did give blood. About noon, a short female doctor came out and rushed by. She said, "They have no more room to store blood. Wait if you want to, but it would be better to go up to another hospital further uptown." That's what I did after stopping home and calling everyone I knew who worked down there.


Two
good friends survived. I spent most of the afternoon and night with one. His wife was out of town and did not want him to be alone. My friend lived next to FDNY Rescue 1, the top rescue team in NYC. One of the chiefs along with many wives were waiting. He was explaining the pancake effect of the collapse of the towers. It was Rescue 1's final call.


I
walked home down the middle of the street through a dark Time Square with the only thing lit up: a Morgan Stanley sign with a scrolling phone number to call for their missing workers. My friend never returned to Ground Zero. He moved out of state. I walk home alone from Time Square down the middle of 7th Avenue to 14th Street.

My brother was in a cab when he saw Philippe Petit cross the World Trade Center on the high wire in the early 70's.

I made contact with my brother who happened to be close to the World Trade Center that morning in a taxicab. The cab driver said, "I'm sorry, just have to go home," after witnessing the collapse of both towers from not too far away. Almost all the phones were out and only one company's cell phones were working. Not too many people had that company.

The subways were stopped and there were very few cabs. Everyone was walking. My brother had to pick up his son from school way uptown. He knocked on the window of a cab that a fellow was in and asked if he could share the cab uptown with him. The man, in his 20's or 30's said, "Sure". The man was a very large man well over 200 pounds and was pale white . My brother asked, "Are you alright?" The man said, "I work for Morgan Stanley a few floors below where the plane hit. The impact blew out all the windows and I saw my colleagues sucked out of the windows from the air pressure along with all the furniture. The only reason I was not sucked out was because I happened to grab onto something on the floor. It took all of my strength to crawl out on the floor because the pressure was so strong I could not stand up. Crawled to the emergency exit and made it out." Then he said, "I am never working for that f**king company again. The next thing you're going to hear me say is, do you want a milkshake with those fries."


Wednesday
I reported to Pier 61 Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River to volunteer and was told, "We have no more room for volunteers. If you want to wait you can wait with the 3,000 people in the skating rink that we will never use; help yourself. Come back tomorrow early in the morning if you wish."


Thursday
before 7 AM I reported again, I took my respirator. Calling a friend at a government health department, I asked, "What kind of filter do I want in it just in case I get down to Ground Zero?" My friend said, "Dust and organic vapors."

Put in the right filters, put on a back support, and work boots. I headed to Chelsea Piers and was told, "We do not need you. Try back at around 10:00 if you want to." I walked back downtown along Chelsea Piers at the end of the Pier. I heard a loud yell from an old friend Jonathan Rackman. We embraced and talked.

He asked me, "What are you doing?" "Going home - they don't need any help." Jonathan said, "Stay here, you can help me, we are getting support supplies for the rescue workers and feeding all of the ambulance drivers." Ambulances lined the West Side Highway as far as one could see. I said, "Great". He put me in charge while he made a delivery of ice to Ground Zero. Working with another fellow, we quickly organized the supplies in the area: medical supplies, power bars, water, clothing, and made a food serving area. Putting together various odd objects to make long tables. By 10:00 AM I had a crew of over 100 people, and we were getting lists of needed supplies from Jonathan as well as figuring out what they needed. Making lists, finding places to photo copy them and distributing them. Supplies were pouring in. Over that week we had about 1500 volunteers.


Then
we got a big break. We would be shipping supplies down in a Police Boat. We would load a police boat fully in about 45 seconds, lining everyone up in a chain gang passing supplies. Somethings we sent down we did not understand why they needed them. Why do they need so many boots and sox? Later I found out the boots were melting on the pile from the heat and lasted only one use. Discovered the EMS Crews were trapped in their units and could not leave them, so we loaded food on shopping carts and wheeled up and down the line. We also learned what we needed to support the EMS crews and they made us more aware that the dust masks that everyone was asking people to donate were useless. I knew this as an artist.


We
shipped down power bars and power drinks. Late at night Jonathan came back up on the Police boat and told us, "No more power drinks. They need caffeine soda." We found caffeine soda. We also cleaned out Pier 61 F.E.M.A. supply of soda. They were not happy about that. Then Jonathan told us, "We need it on ice." We supplied ice. All from the parking lot at the end of the pier.


Once
in a while I would go up to Pier 61 F.E.M.A. (Federal Emergency Management Agency - they were official, along with official organization people from various organizations) to ask if they had a certain supply. If they did, we would find someone to give it to us. Then one time I was told to wait. Someone needed to talk to me. I said, "I don't have time." Then I realized it was not a request. I was put in this very dark room with one computer screen and a man that interviewed me as to who I was and what organization we were, who was in charge. We were not an organization. We were citizens from the area and around the world. Artist, writers, actors, high fashion models, caterers, therapists, bartenders, white-collar workers, teachers and so on. "But who are you", he said? "A Jewish artist, actor, mask maker." "How did you organize this?" "People came and asked what can I do to help and we gave people things to do that are helping." He said, "We have to call you something!" I said, "Call us anything you want. What Pier is that down there?" He said, "Pier 59." "Great, call us Pier 59." And they did. He asked me to wait and he took all my identification and came back and said, OK thank you can go now. And I left back to my crews. Later I found out all the officials organization people and F.E.M.A people at Pier 61 were waiting all day to talk to him. They knew there would be big money contracts coming. He came late at night and I was the only person he spoke with, then he left. Later I found out several of the official charity people were not happy with me, because I was the only person he spoke with.


About
midnight I realized I had been on my feet since about 7:00 AM and knew if I did not get a little sleep I would start making stupid decisions. I learned when I met writer Ken Kesey in Oregon to start something but don't be afraid to hand it off to someone else. So I handed the control off to three women Alison Howlett, Cheryl Campbell, one other and Penelope Kojima helped; they took charge while I went to get some shuteye. On the way home I ran into a local news crew (NYC News1) and told them what kind of respirators were needed at Ground Zero. They were not interested. (Mind you I looked like hell and nothing official.) So I went to the other news crew from Philadelphia. They were shooting people cheering the dump trucks and emergency vehicles as they went up and down the West Side Highway to and from Ground Zero. The news crew said they did not have the right audience for it. I told them but they can get the information to the right audience and people. They interviewed me for about 10 minutes and I told them what kind of respirators and filters were needed and what kind of eye goggles and about my friend at the government health department and gave them filter numbers. Then the local NY News1 crew came back and interviewed me. I told them just get the information out. They did. People told me it went all over the news the next day.


Went
to bed but only had visions until about 3:30 in the morning, at that time I sat straight up in bed and shouted, "3M call 3M they have respirators." I was about to run down to Pier 61, (they had phones that worked) when I realized they were closed at this hour. First thing in the morning I was at Pier 61 and with information from my official friend that could not get the information through the government system. I told the phone person to call 3M and told him exactly what to ask for. Then I went back down to Pier 59. About 30 minutes later a fellow working with Pier 61 F.E.M.A. came down and said, "Just wanted to let you know 3M is delivering 3 truck loads of supplies to Ground Zero." I heard it arrived on Sunday and it was in small part because of a Chelsea political liberal artist. The person working with F.E.M.A. quit F.E.M.A. and started working with us because he said, "You folks down here are effective and getting things done."


One
of the ugliest parts of the support of rescue workers was on Friday. We had fresh construction and FDNY rescue crews waiting to go down to Ground Zero. We were still shipping supplies down. But no fresh crews were allowed to come and go. We kept on hearing all work at Ground Zero was frozen. No search and rescue was going on. Why? George W. Bush is coming to make a speech at 12:00 noon. We could not believe it. Rescue work is stopped because of a speech. Why couldn't George W. Bush give the speech from Washington? He is stopping rescue work! Bush was late; very late…our crews were frozen from about 6:00 AM until way after 6:00 PM. It was hard to believe that Bush and his gang were that insensitive. Every time I ran into a worker from Ground Zero I would ask him about Friday. Everyone's words were the same. All work was frozen on Friday.


Some
other great things that we did - we had all professional caters running the food station and we had all of our physiologists and therapists serving coffee (it was their idea) and they would do therapy around the coffee pot because they knew the rescue workers would not come in and sit down. They helped them, got them talking.


One grea
t thing Pier 59 did was give people a way to help. I made some of the best friends in my life those days that I most likely will never see again. One person that was part of our crew went on to get training and is now an international disaster relief worker. She bases everything of what to do right on what we did at Pier 59 when we took chaos and made it work - helping people. After we loaded a boat I would have us give a hand to ourselves and cheer. That's how we were able to load a police boat in less than a minute.


Questions
that stream though my head. Where was our air force? How can a jet liner do a U-turn around Cleveland, fly past about 5 US Air Bases, after the first plane hit the tower and fly in frozen air space after the World Trades Centers were hit?


I u
nderstand there was one official White House person that did do something, US Transportation Secretary Norman Manetta, the only Democrat… he took action. He alone made the decision to ground all the air traffic in the United States. He is the only White House person that acted that day under pressure and was effective. On 9/11 my sister was flying out of Oakland, California and my brother was flying out of Portland, Oregon - they found a blade on one of the Portland airplanes.


The le
sson of 9/11 is not fear. Almost all of the fear was on TV. The lesson is hope, unity, love and togetherness in action.


It
was Friday and getting to be sundown, Bush had finally arrived and our relief crews of firemen and construction workers were still waiting to go down. Pier 59 was a well oiled organization now and based on Ken Kesey's concept do not be afraid to step aside; I called a friend and asked if there was a place I could go for Friday night Shabbos dinner. My friend said, yes your invited to Yosefa's, in the Village near Washington Square Park. My 9/11 world was 7th Ave and 14th Street to Chelsea Piers, I had not walked around the city at all. As I walked to the Yosefa's home though the Greenwich Village I saw all of the candles. They were everywhere, thousands of them. Bus shelters turned into memorials covered with pictures of the missing and amazing number of candles. The pictures of the missing were everywhere you looked, on every lamppost, covering the out side walls of the hospital and there were the people walking from hospital to hospital and asking every stranger, "have you seen my loved one." Passed one firehouse in the Greenwich Village, the entire sidewalk was covered solid with candles, flowers, poems and thank you notes. I usually light Shabbos candles on Friday and enjoy the peace of them. The feelings from everyone in the city encompassed a closeness with oneness never experienced before. The peacefulness and love from around the world and you could feel pouring in; it was like thick mist of peacefulness and love. This love obliterated what fear there was. I saw very little fear. In weeks to follow I experienced a web site of photographs, tributes from around the globe, mass memorials with a few people and thousands of people. The people that came to help from around the country and world, some places and people that always looked down on NYC came and had a total change of heart about NYC. The love from that week will always be with me. It is that closeness, peacefulness and love that many will remember and always be with them. It would be nice to build on that.

Stanley Allan Sherman

These masks I made about a year after 9/11. They express some of my feelings and experiences about the event.

20% of any sales of these sets of masks will go to a charity of our choosing.

911 mask

 

 

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Contact Stanley Allan Sherman - Mask Arts Company
212-255-2882: 203 West 14th St Studio 5F, New York NY 10011-7138


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