The design of the masks has a particularity, as they are inspired by the Venetian masks, also known as “Bauta.” Since Doge Foscari’s reign in 1943, when the artisans who created them were known as “Maschereri,” the word “Bauta,” which means “to protect,” has been regarded as the traditional Venetian mask.
On February 17th, 2023, the Loreto City Hall’s Kumutu Exhibition Hall inaugurated the “Venetian Vision” exhibition featuring an incredible collection of masks reminiscent of the Venice Carnival, created by Juan Francisco Picos, originally from La Paz.
Among his designs are: Masks and Mask Feathers and Rhinestones, Cracked Antique masks, Navy Blue – Azul Marino, and Luna Barroca, as well as stunning designs of cats made of paper-mâché and glue. All of them are handmade.
The artist from La Paz was contacted by Lizette Inzunza, the municipality’s Director of the Art Department, in collaboration with Sixto Davis Castro. In this way, the art director expressed gratitude to Paola Cota Davis, Municipal President of Loreto, for consistently supporting events of this nature to educate Loreto’s residents about culture.
“It is with great Sudcalifornian pride to have artists of the stature of Juan Francisco. He has such passion for the art of Venetian style masks that his talent puts the spotlight on our state, causing a furor with his spectacular designs,” said Mayor Paola Cota Davis.
Juan Francisco Picos Castro, born on October 23rd in La Paz, Baja California Sur, is 39 years old and a visual artist. Just more than ten years ago, he began creating masks. First, however, he was intrigued by the magic of transforming a basic sheet of paper into artistic creations from a very young age.
“Paper mache has always been there since I can remember; it’s a fascinating technique of approaching art with paper and glue. But, the artist exclaims, “Feathers always carry a touch of elegance and distinction.”
The artist from Southern California performs his work with precision and quality in each design. Some are very funny, others are more serious, but all are gratifying.