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Local New Orleans Artists: John Flemming, The Man Behind the Mask(s)

Supposedly, the average human touches their face between 2,000 and 3,000 times each day. I scoffed when I first heard this statistic, but then I realized I was itching my cheek while I scoffed. Here in New Orleans, though, people pay even more attention to their faces, especially during Carnival.

The face – or rather the covering of the face – in a thematically exotic way is all a part of Carnival. How can you dance like no one is watching if your face is exposed to the whole city? That’s where the beauty of masks comes into play, and this week, we wanted to pay homage to some of the most beautiful masks we’ve ever seen. They come from John Flemming, and each on is hand-crafted.

As John Flemming states, “My work is the outgrowth of more than 40 years of work in the medium of leather. While continuing to produce a small line of exquisite accessories, more recently, my pieces have concentrated on the sculptural possibilities of leather. I have chosen the mask as a form to explore these possibilities. Inspired by the life forms in nature, these pieces suggest wind, fire, and motion, not usually associated with objects made of this medium.

All of these pieces are created entirely ‘free hand,’ without the assistance of any molds or forms, while the leather is both hot and wet. Colors are hand rubbed dyes , followed by acrylic glazes, which are applied delicately , with small brushes. All pieces are primarily decorative but also wearable.”

Now those are so masks we can get excited about…

The photos and artist information was provided by Where Y’Art, a NolaVie content partner. Where Y’Art is a community of Lovers and Creators of New Orleans art. At Where Y’Art, you will meet over 100 local artists, from painters to sculptors, craftsman & jewelry designers, discover their passions and learn their stories. is your 24-hour gallery, where the artist is always present and the wall space knows no limits. So discover, follow, shop the art and join our community at 


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