Masks provide the best line of defense against COVID-19, but they’ve also become a fashion statement, a means for companies to repurpose their warehouses, and a public health tool that deserves all the praise.
That's why SELF magazine dedicated the August covers of its digital edition to masks through its initiative Mask On: A Visual Celebration.
"We know that infected people can be contagious before they show any symptoms," SELF Visuals Director Amber Venerable and Editor-in-Chief Carolyn Kylstra wrote in their editor’s letter. "We know that people can expel the virus into the air by talking, coughing, sneezing, singing, and even just breathing. We know that breathing it in can make you sick, as can picking up the virus from a surface and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes."
They added: "And we know that wearing a mask can help minimize your risk of spreading the virus — and possibly of contracting it, too. Wearing a mask isn’t the only thing we need to do to tackle COVID-19, but it’s a crucial one. And aren’t we lucky that something so important is also so doable?"
Mask by Cotton Citizen.
A study in May revealed that wearing a surgical mask can reduce the spread of COVID-19 by up to 75%.
Masks prevent the spray of droplets from sneezing, coughing, and talking when worn over the mouth and nose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So, knowing their impact as a vital public health tool, SELF (self-declared big fans of masks) has taken it upon itself to not only cover them from all sorts of angles — showing the good masks, the bad masks, and the importance of masks — but also to highlight their importance through art.
Venerable hired 10 artists to develop visuals for 10 different magazine covers that showcase masks — and the results are beautiful.
"Our hope is that you’ll join us in affirming, celebrating, and — most important — wearing masks, for the sake of personal and public health," Venerable and Kylstra wrote in their letter. "Mask on."
Check out more of the amazing artwork below.
“For this illustration, I wanted to graphically interpret spaces inside and outside from geometric shapes and colors. The representation of clouds as freedom and the use of the mask as the only safe way to be in that space.” —Bárbara Maligoli.
“I think a lot of us have become exhausted by mask wearing, so I saw this as an opportunity to breathe (literally) new life into the image of ‘the mask’..." —Lelanie Foster
“We wanted to capture the way that summer feels so perfect in mid-August. And that even with a mask (the very least we can do to protect the common good), summer is still the best season.” —Graydon Herriott
“I wanted to show a community of people, since wearing a mask is not only to protect yourself but also your fellow citizens.” —Abbey Lossing
"I like to think of masks as the human equivalent of an organic fruit label: ‘safe, responsibly grown.’” —Chelsea Kyle. Food Styling by Drew Aichele.
“My piece is inspired by the idea of, instead of resisting what is now the new normal, it's time to adapt. While I'm sure we can agree that wearing a mask can be uncomfortable, we have to be responsible and take the proper precautions...” —Laci Jordan
“For this shoot we wanted to create a juxtaposition of the pandemic of 1918 paired with our current public health situation. The fashion in the shoot is a nod to that story.” —Rahim Fortune
"I wanted my image to feel dreamy, intimate, and a little fantastical. I knew the dynamic Chloé Véro would be able to bring: a sense of connectedness and power, both of which feel integral to this important story.” —Heather Hazzan
“I was imagining a lady from the past, maybe from the Middle Ages, wearing her sumptuous dress and a mask.” —Diana Ejaita