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I found some masks and I wasn’t even looking...

May 1, 2019


I have to confess—I haven’t started on my “mask” piece. I haven’t even thought about it much. I’ve been distracted. I’ve been in Italy on vacation and, oh yes, it was wonderful and filled with good food and marvelous art and architecture and wine and sunshine and piazzas and gelato and cappuccino, but no masks. No masks until...


We were in Florence and looking for something fun to do when I read about a walking tour of Florence called "Renaissance to Street Art". We met our guide at the Piazza del Signoria, surrounded by Renaissance buildings and Renaissance statues and started out to learn a little about the flourishing culture of Florentine street art. Down a little side street from the piazza we encountered our first subject--a little painting of a Renaissance cherub wearing a snorkeling mask. It had been painted on paper, then glued to the metal door of a utility box set into a stone wall, and signed "Blub." Blub, we learned, is a mysterious artist, whose work appears in the night in locations all throughout the city of Florence. Blub pronounced "bloob",is one of the most active and prolific of a growing group of Florence street artists. No one knows the identity of Blub, but his/her work is becoming internationally known and once we had seen the first one, we began to see them everywhere. Each is a painting of a familiar face from, mostly, classic paintings, wearing a snorkle mask and under water. We also learned about, and saw, work by other artists, but Blub was, by far, the most active and it became like a treasure hunt to find them. I liked that Blub always attached his/her work to things like utility boxes and not the stone or stucco of the old buildings. It wasn't until I had seen about six of them that I smacked my forehead and thought MASK! Serendipity at its best.



 This one, below, is a portrait, by Blub, of another of the street artists, Clet, who cleverly alters traffic signs around the city.



 These works are ephemeral, here today, gone tomorrow, so it was fun to see so many. I have since googled Blub, Florence, to see even more. I recommend it. They make me smile.


I'm home now, ready to start planning my piece about masks. I don't think I'll be using snorkeling masks in my piece, but these works were inspiring and might push me to consider not just the obvious response. 


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