Formerly, he made a living in the oil fields of east Texas, creating fun masks out of gourds for personal fulfillment.
His unique creations caught on, and now, the oil fields are far behind him – literally and figuratively.
A Lumbee from Louisiana, originally, D.R. now lives in New Mexico, where he creates these dramatic, colorful masks.
First , he has to find a natural gourd, suitable in size and shape.
Then, he has to cut it in half, without damaging the gourd, and scrape it out, also by hand, before getting into the decoration.
Although there are some slight echoes of real symbols, such as the rectangular eyes (like Navajo Yei’s), these masks are imaginative creations, without ceremonial or tribal affiliations.
The center, of leather-textured cordovan red, is flanked by a graduated stripe of black, dotted with white circles, on either side.
The sides of the mask are painted in a warm light brown, also, leathery, with dramatic triangles of black.
A small round turquoise is embedded in each triangle. Bordering the triangles, and the eyes, are golden tan accents.
The headdress flares out in a fan of varied natural feathers: blue, teal, and green parrot feathers, with a short spray of flaming red and yellow parrot feathers.
These are backed by a narrow trio of pheasant plumes, at the top, long and short, dotted guinea fowl feathers, and a variety of exotic domestic fowl feathers – like the fine russet plumes fluttering over the parrot feathers, on either side of the mask.
Richly colored in jewel tones and dramatic neutrals, this is a striking mask.
Hang it on a wall, over a mantel, in your entryway, or anywhere in your house; it will add energy and distinction to your home, and enliven an arrangement of two-dimensional art, too.