Madison Mask is an artist but doesn't have a formal background in art. He went to school for business and works in marketing, where he gained familiarity with in-person experiences: trade shows, conferences and experiential marketing design.
This backlog of experience inspired Mask to create Frosty Rainbow, an interactive art installation space in the Cedars neighborhood.
Mask has always been fascinated by immersive art, the kind found at pop-up art space Sweet Tooth Hotel in Dallas and the works of Meow Wolf, an art collective based in Santa Fe.
“I’m passionate about themed experiences that transcend a typical painting on a wall,” Mask says.
Though he's always had big dreams of creating large installations, Mask wanted something he could do immediately. He started out small, working in his apartment and experimenting with recycled materials.
“What can I do right now, with the materials that I have?” Mask asked himself.
From that experimentation, modest.museum was born. Mask created sculptures, which he installed throughout the city. His goal was to create pieces that people in the neighborhood could appreciate and stop to photograph. In the beginning, he was setting up and taking down sculptures around Uptown, some of which were removed by property owners.
“I went under modest.museum originally because I wanted to be anonymous,” Mask says. “Without a formal art background I wasn’t going to be in a gallery any time soon, so I decided to get art directly in front of the neighborhood.”
He targeted areas of the city that were rundown and overgrown.
“I’m frustrated with how many lots and abandoned buildings go to waste,” Mask says. “We just wait for developers to buy them up and build more expensive apartments. I thought maybe I could change peoples’ perception of everyday life with my sculptures, maybe even question what’s possible in our community.”
This first guerilla experiment with experiential art, modest.museum, helped Mask establish relationships with people in the Dallas art scene.
His newest project, Frosty Rainbow, was conceived as Mask worked on his portfolio during the snowstorm in February. He was snowed in and couldn’t get to his studio.
“I was getting emotional,” Mask says. “Looking out my window, seeing all the snow, I wondered how I could use snow as a prop. I was thinking about ways I could create something beyond a physical sculpture.”
Rather than using snow itself in a piece, Mask created a website. Frosty Rainbow was, at first, an imaginary business that sells psychedelic snow cones. To this day, Mask continues to build on the website, wanting to take people down different rabbit holes as they explore the site.
The more he worked on the website, the more he saw Frosty Rainbow as a full, three-dimensional.
“I continue to move towards doing more large-scale events,” Mask says. “I set out to create full, immersive installations that people can walk inside of and be a part of the art itself.”
Mask turned his studio space in the Cedars into Frosty Rainbow’s “distribution center.” The stacked boxes in the space hide a secret passage. When you go inside, you’ll find a short video being projected.
Frosty Rainbow is part of Mask’s continued growth as an artist.
“This is not the end result of what I want to do,” Mask says. “It’s a stepping stone on to the next big thing. I am passionate about the city of Dallas, and I want to do bigger and better things that involve local artists around Dallas.”
Frosty Rainbow is free to visit and can be viewed from 6- 8 p.m. on April 15 and Friday, April 16, and Thursday, April 22 - Sunday, April 25, at Frosty Rainbow, 1517 Gano St. Book your 15-minute time slot on the Frosty Rainbow website. Up to 5 people are allowed in the space at once. Masks are required.
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