Monica "Moni" J. Roxburgh Sears (she/they) is a lifelong creator of art. At ten years old in New Zealand she made her first masks from paper and cardboard. In 1987 her family relocated to the United States where her creative explorations continued, then from 1994-1997 she completed a Fine Art major while making a number of masks for theatrical performances.
In 1999 Moni moved to Portland, Oregon where she proceeded to turn mask-making into a business: Goblin Art. Often assisted by her partner Rick Sears, from 2000-2015 thousands of their creations were sold to customers around the world through galleries, fairs, art markets, and online sales.
Goblin Art's masks have also been commissioned for film and television, and have been featured on book and album covers including Iron Maiden's 2003 LP record album and vinyl single Dance of Death.
Between 2002 and 2014 Moni and Rick regularly traveled to the New Orleans French Quarter to sell masks at the Mardi Gras Mask Market and to parade with the Society of Saint Anne on Mardi Gras Day. That annual immersion in New Orleans parade culture has had a lasting influence on Moni's work.
Photo by Theresa Pridemore, 2006
In 2017 Moni took a break from Goblin Art to create the Wildland Roots Project, through which she developed and workshoped several methods of mask-making using entirely natural and biodegradable materials, with classes typically held in outdoor, natural locations.
Then during the Pandemic, Moni co-founded the Portland All Souls River Procession with Ivy Stovall and Mellissa Berry. It has been held each November since 2021 by the Willamette River and St Johns Bridge in Portland, and is graciously hosted by the Green Anchors Foundation. The event combines art, masks, costumes, lanterns, processional puppets and group participation into a powerful community ritual to honor the souls who have left us during the previous year.
Photo by Anna Androsova, 2023
Finally in 2023, Moni decided to reopen the Goblin Art studio, but this time to bring many of her creative interests together--mask-making, prop-building, processional puppets and community art projects, using a combination of both modern and natural techniques and materials. She is looking forward to offering public maskmaking classes in the Portland area starting in Summer 2024.
Photo by Mel Berry, 2024
*Moni is pronounced Monnie or MAUN-ee.