If you’ve ever visited Japan in the midst of winter or spring, you’ve probably noticed a barrage of people sporting face masks in the trains and walking about the city. A popular way to battle the spread of germs in the winter and pesky pollen in the spring, surgical masks have been common in Japan since the early 20th century.


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However what began as a seasonal safeguard has recently become a year-round custom. While you may see Hello Kitty and other themed masks for children, the choice for adults wanting to make a fashion statement is fairly stark.

Inspired by the literal wearable canvas, Canadian artist May Shi began creating beautiful hand-painted masks depicting everything from Van Gogh’s Starry Night to the ever-recognizable Poké Ball. Check out some of her unique and whimsical handiwork below!

More info: Instagram

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