Perhaps more studied than the typical aerosol vandal, Tuco Wallach works for days in studio to prepare his works that go into the public sphere. Stencils based on his merged photo collages emerge as wood cutout Humasks, a uniquely titled campaign of figures he puts out under cover of night, or out in broad daylight, in his hometown in France.
Sometimes alone, often as a project with friends or with his family, Tuco shares his ideas and the process of putting work in public with his two young boys and his wife and others who those close to him. His craftsmanship is meticulous, precise, and his mind is immersed in a fantastic world that lies just inside one thin slice of yours.
He carefully cuts and finishes these “woodshapes”, and they are never far from him. “I always have a few ‘woodshapes’ with me and shoot them in streets or landscapes,” he says.
This summer his characters were stuck to walls, or posed in natural scenes long enough for him to photograph them, the magic captured for posterity. Tuco’s is an ongoing practice, one that entertains him and connects him with people, rather than separates him. Because his characters are shy, perhaps, they like to wear masks. He calls them “humasks”
We asked Tuco a few questions about his new campaign:
BSA: What is the new campaign “humasks” about?
Tuco Wallach: After mixing for a long time humans and animals (“manimals”), I wanted to explore a new area : the masks and humans. I’ve always been very interested about masks in popular culture, movies, music… the subject is “infinite” for me. I began to make my first “humasks” just before the pandemic… Maybe the meaning has changed now. Perhaps it sounds a little “cliché”, but I wonder who’s behind the mask? We all are always wearing different masks with family, friends, and colleagues.
BSA: What is the process for selecting a figure for whom you will create a humask?
Tuco Wallach: It depends – but my process doesn’t really change. All my drawings come from my pictures (not necessarily the masks). I shoot unknown people and I add a mask to their figure later, and create my stencil from that result. Sometimes the mask influences me regarding how I choose a figure, sometimes it’s the contrary. I make tests and and at some point, I feel it’s right.
BSA: When you have added the mask, does the figure become a new character?
Tuco Wallach: Definitely it does for me. Each time the new figures become my ‘little friends”. They have a parallel life in my mind, like super heroes 🙂
BSA: There is a certain anonymity in putting street art up in public places. Do you wear a mask sometimes in public as well?
Tuco Wallach: No. Just my cap and my bike. If I was wearing a mask when pastings my “humasks” I think it may become too complicated.
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