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  • Writer's pictureENCODE GRAPHICS

The story behind a mask!

Updated: Mar 22, 2021


We all wear masks; to others and to ourselves; metaphorically speaking and literally. — Sometimes to protect ourselves or hide our true selves; sometimes to play games and sometimes because they stand for something we espouse with our ideals and beliefs.

The history of mankind knows countless forms of masks used in war, rituals, theater or other forms of art. Obviously, ENCODE belongs to the latter field. We make comics and illustrations. We see masks as an essential part of this art niche. The inner and outer masks form the material of comics — as in our main title “2084”, which is about the legendary figure Satoshi Nakamoto, among others.

Is it a Guy Fawkes mask?

We’ve already been asked if his outer appearance is a Guy Fawkes mask. The short answer is yes and no, with the no clearly prevailing!

The underlying roots of “2084” can be found in movements like Occupy or Anonymous, as well as the anonymous entity Satoshi Nakamoto himself. These have all been strongly associated with that mask most people know from the movie “V for Vendetta”; a mask designed based on “older” designs by the hand of David Lloyd for DC Comics. This mask, legally owned by Warner Inc, became almost a cult item, especially in the last decade. Millions of these masks were sold and became a symbol of resistance; worn by people who stood and stand together for values such as freedom, independence, fairer conditions and anonymity.

So the yes can be answered in that we definitely see a proximity to these historical developments as well as to the historical figure of Guy Fawkes in the basis of our work. For a simple artist it does not cause any problems if he perceives this symbol, which he perceives in his environment with essential influence and integrates it reflectively in his works. Something that, for example, the designer Luccho Poletti has done masterfully, fully establishing the connection between the Guy Fawkes mask and Satoshi.

For a project of our category, however, this would not be acceptable, which is why we have distanced ourselves from the most well-known design.

What Kaliban would look like if we had used the Warner design. The left version with the original Guy Fawkes mask copyrighted by Warner. This serves at this point only for a representational comparison.

However, the No does not prevail primarily for this reason. Rather, the basis of our design is found in ancient japanese mythology, philosophy, and the japanese name of Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto. There is something strategic about him; he is a warrior with codex; almost a mythical creature; intangible like a dragon of heaven. It is not to be second-guessed but works like the “Hagakure” or the “Book of 5 Rings” want to get their place in this opus…

Satoshi’s mask, as well as Kaliban’s, in “2084” can thus be seen as part of his “Yoroi” — the face armor “Mempo” and even more specifically: a face armor that covers the entire face (Sōmen). From a mixture of the old Oni and Tengu masks with a touch of “Guy Fawkes”, a more martial image was created, reflecting the rage of the oppressed; the sovereignty of the warrior…

— the face of a legend.

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