Olga Sem was born in Kazakhstan to a Ukrainian father and a Russian mother and was brought up in both cultures. After moving to Canada ( march 2012), She met so many talented people that could help her to truly follow her passion and fulfill her dream. Olga states, “I’m so eternally grateful for their continuing help and support. I’m now able to dedicate all my free time to the process of creating my masks”.
When asked where she draws her inspiration from, Olga states, I draw my inspiration from my life, my experiences, and from the people around me. Today the walls of my house are covered in masks, but these are far more than simple artistic creations. Each mask has a meaning and represents a real person with mystical characteristics. For example, none of us are ideal and the Mask of Balance symbolizes the different aspects of a person’s personality. The main positive and negative sides of a character are depicted in black and white, divided by a central red line. I have more than 30 masks, all in widely different designs. While some are classic, I’ve also crafted modern masks with LEDs and ones in a Steampunk style.
Olga went onto share her story on how she started creating her masks, “I learn my craft long ago in the beautiful city of Venice, where I was taught by an old man called Senor Augusto in his tiny workshop. I asked Olga what were her memories about Venice?
My Memory about Venice — for me this city very authentic and cozy with lots of beautiful masks and water. I am very well remember the smell of the city. For many, it is very bad. But for me (childhood memory) Venice has a smell a glue, that brew masters — Maschere (italian) In Venice, a lot of images and bas-reliefs of lions on the buildings. I always wondered why these lions are holding the book in old -old buildings. My teacher said “When You create the first real Venetian mask, I am open a secret.” I am made ! It was Bauta. And after for me It was so interesting to discover, that It is a symbol of St. Mark. If the book in lion’s hand is open, it was peacetime, during the construction of buildings in Venice. If closed, Venice was at war”.
Do you sell your masks? If so, what is the price range that you sell them for?
NO — I am not selling my Collection’s Mask.
All My Masks in my collection it’s like my baby ))))
And this is a very expensive process.
But I making Mask, when people order personal and exclusive Mask .
It’s very interesting process. First of all, we are create the story of life for this Mask and after this Mask will be born . In my cause, Every mask — must be a personality.
The Hardest part of making the mask it’s the birth of the idea. And the easiest part is ordering all decorative material . Feathers (Australia and UAE), rhinestones, lace, silk ribbons, gold leaf, and various types of paints.
I use both two main papier-mache methods :
– one makes use of paper strips glued together with adhesive,
– and second method uses paper pulp obtained by soaking or boiling paper to which glue is then added.
The first technique I use a lot more often. First of all I sculpture the mask in the form of a clay mold or create mask on real face.
After them I make the reverse-form of gypsum.
Preparing the glue by my recipe. And paper strips glued together in reverse-form. That’s all. Nothing difficult. Yes,of course I have my own secrets which keep to myself. After drying the mask should be polished and coated with a special layer of paint. And the last things is — decorating and creating the crown or headdress.I use hand brush-painting (acrylic),3D -painting, glue-painting, decoupage, ribbon embroidery, gilding, silvering, crystal mosaic, lace technique, wet skin technique, macrame.
My mask gave me the idea to create my own show.
Masks are only the tools for pantomime — theater! With masks, you can show different emotions and characters. With the help of masks we can show life situations. The first scenario for the show is called “THE VIZARD”. No, this is not an error in the title. “THE VIZARD”- it’s an old words .
It means the mask or the visor. We are describe VIZARD Show — as the first show of its kind in Calgary and Canada. It brings a magical experience to families, couples, friends and everyone who is in a desperate desire to find the new entertainment experience in Calgary.
It almost feels like these masks have a soul, they are more than masks, they are spiritual magical beings, and colorful entities that come to life. They each have their own life and story!