Designer A Hidden Place discusses origins & influences of SBTRKT’s masks | Art


UK bred producer SBTRKT is known for his music and also the mask that he wears on stage and on his album covers.  OkayAfrica recently got the chance to speak with A Hidden Place, the anonymous designer and visual art director behind the persona of sorts, in a pretty interesting interview.

OkayAfrica: SBTRKT has described your masks as a “modern version of ceremonial masks from native societies,” where did the influence for the design come from?

A Hidden Place: They’re inspired by many native and ancient societies from a global viewpoint. It’s been said that they are African perhaps because of the triangles, but when you look into it you’ll find many influences that also stem from India to Central & South America. I do like the 3D masks of the Dogon people and perhaps the triangles you might see on masks from the Congo. I love the use of colour from Aztec art in general, but I’m also really into colourful wildlife too.

It’s difficult to say really, after you expose yourself to so many different images they seem to merge and your output becomes an imagined commune of them. It’s really the ethereal quality that’s so fascinating with “native societies”… the fact that it all becomes surreal. It is an escapism from the ordinary.

OkayAfrica: The masks have largely helped create SBTRKT’s identity as an artist. Did you work closely with him on the designs or was it more of a thing where you took on most of the work?

A Hidden Place: Yes totally, SBTRKT is very involved in the process, he has ideas and is very visual. He would never wear a mask he doesn’t like. I never set out to set him an image or identity, that’s something that came about more through the idea of his anonymity. The fact of wanting the focus to fall on the music and trying to avoid all the kind of tabloid style music blogging. Ironically, it gave people something to write about and then eventually the identity became even more widely known, just so happens to be a mask instead of a face.

Read the rest of the interview and check out additional designs at OkayAfrica