Meet the Local Artist Duo Behind the Crafty Craze of Folded Paper Masks

Matthew Bagshaw and Christina Owczarek have created foldable paper elephant, unicorn and Pokémon heads.



Bull head by RPS Masks.

Photograph by Gabriele Kuzabaviciute

 

The heads of various animals adorn the walls of Matthew Bagshaw and Christina Owczarek’s spare room, but don’t mistake the pair for big-game hunters.

Instead, the heads in this menagerie (which includes everything from bunnies and elephants to Pokémon and a unicorn with a laser in its horn) are made of folded paper and corrugated plastic. 

It was two years ago that Bagshaw says he started thinking about how he could make the polygonal pieces. “I made the first one with paper, I made the second one with corrugated plastic, and then I thought ‘I can do this,’ ” he says. 

Bagshaw and Owczarek believed others might like to do this as well and began offering plans for the masks, which buyers print out and make at home, via their Etsy store RPS Masks (Rock Paper Scissor Masks). Their work has since taken the nerdier corners of the Internet by storm, with websites like thisiswhyimbroke.com and theawesomer.com featuring the masks. Sales of the plans rose from 187 in 2015 to 865 last year.

Owczarek, who works three jobs to help support their art, also handles the marketing side of RPS Masks and says the growth in interest in their work has been amazing. The response RPS got at the 2016 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo was particularly rewarding. “Seeing the reactions from people, saying ‘this is freaking awesome, what you guys are doing,’ is what gets us out of our two-bedroom basement,” she says.

Not content with just one creative outlet, Bagshaw and Owczarek’s future projects include a line of 3D wall ornaments and Panda8, a line of pop culture-inspired leggings featuring retro video games, Pokémon and artsy mash-ups.

“The goal is for us to be independently employed with all the businesses and be able to put ourselves more into our creative passions,” says Owczarek. “We just want to get our art into the community and have everyone enjoying what it is that we’re passionate about.” 

“That’s what Christina wants,” Bagshaw interjects. “I just want a jetpack.”

For more information, go to rpsmasks.com

photograph by vladimir Yatsina

Elephant head by RPS Masks.

 

This article appears in the April 2017 issue of Avenue Calgary. Subscribe here.

 

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