The mask

The first of May that year was very sunny and beautiful. I felt like making some photos for that new music project of mine, so I asked my then-girlfriend to join me out with her camera. We headed to one of my favourite spots in town where the Ruhr River flows into the Rhine River, and I decided to take an accordion with me. The place is called Rheinorange named after a tall monolithic orange steel sculpture that is intended as a landmark. A quite impressive maypole for this photo session.

I inspected the environments, looking for inspiration when I saw this grey thing in the bushes. It turned out to be a silly horror mask made of rubber. I thought it would be quite funny to use it for the photographs along with the accordion, but I was actually worried to scare a group of four children who were playing at a distance. This place is quite far out and rather abandoned, and I felt it was a bit strange that there were no adults to look after the children. They seemed like naughty little runaways enjoying their freedom. I decided to wait until the children were gone before we would begin with the photo shoot. But they wouldn’t go. We waited for more than an hour. At some point, though, they were so far away that I thought we could risk it. I put on the mask and the accordion. With the sun on the rubber mask, my face was immediately baking. It was horrible. But as soon as I started to play the accordion and to hop around, it no longer mattered. I was Art Abscon, and this was his first photo shoot which would even turn out to be his first concert.

Of course the children had noticed the weird antics of this strange accordion player and came running. But to my surprise they were not scared at all. They absolutely loved the Grandmaster and started to dance to his music and applauded him cheerfully.

After the photo shoot, I asked the children for their e-mail addresses and sent them the photos, explicitly telling them to show them to their parents and asking for permission to use them. But once again, I had worried too much. Everyone was fine with it. And Art Abscon had a face. To be continued…

The man with the rubber mask and the gang of four