Abel Mejia makes masks and other crafts out of cardboard.

Abel Mejia is originally from Ecuador. He has lived in the Riverview area for only a few months, but he wanted to use his creativity to make himself a part of his new community.

“I wanted to share with the community my pieces made of cardboard,” Mejia said. “These pieces are not limited to masks, I can also make any type of cardboard figure with polygons.”

It all started about seven years ago when Mejia wanted to make a mask for his son for Halloween.

“I searched the internet and found a design of a dragon that a designer was selling for 7 euros,” Mejia said. “Putting it together took me between five and six hours, and since then I have not been able to stop making my own creations.”

In the world of paper crafts, there are two ingredients. First, there are the designers who use software to convert a 3D image with polygons into 2D and then create the final design. The second ingredient is the person who turns that design into something physical, assembles it and brings it to life. Mejia does both when it comes to his creations.

“First, I decide what colors we are going to use and proceed to buy the materials,” Mejia said. “I then edit the file so I can later, through software, cut the pieces on a homemade laser cutter that I bought when I came here. This laser makes the cuts more precise and the finish is top quality. Once I have all the pieces cut, I proceed to fold and shape the polygons to finally glue the parts with liquid silicone.”

Mejia gets his inspiration from various outlets.

“Inspiration occurs under different circumstances, sometimes out of joy and sometimes even out of sadness, such is the case of one of my last works,” Mejia said. “It was a shiba inu in honor of my uncle’s pet who passed away a few months ago. His memory is now embodied in this beautiful design. Alternatively, during Halloween, inspiration flourishes in an effort to create unique designs different from the typical rubber masks that are repeated yearly.”

If you’d like to see more of Mejia’s creations, you can visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rtist1980. If you’d like for Mejia to create a mask for you, he can be reached at 848-8687.

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Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.