The Masks


In Association With

Name: AG

City: Edinburg

Brain Injury: Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: 

Pink: Part of me that’s nicer. Buttons are tears for Marcelo, the other victim who lost his life.

Red: Happy I lived. Better person. Sometimes I get upset at people who caused the accident, at first I feel they ruined your life but it made me better.

Blue: Confidence because I’m stronger now. Jewels are on my right because my right side is stronger. One day I’ll be a professional soccer player.

Name: Derek

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury:  I was hit in the head and spent two months in a coma, four months in a nursing home, and eleven months at Health South RIOSA.

Explanation of Mask: My mask has two different emotions. One emotion being happy which I am 80% of the time at RIOSA, and the other emotion is anger.  There were certain times where I was angry 20%, mainly for no reasons at all.  I am learning about my brain injury which is helping me cope with my emotions.


Name: EV


Brain Injury:  

Explanation of Mask: The mask is blue and black to show how I feel. I feel angry, confused, lost and crushed. But I don’t remember what happened. But I do remember that I was very good at my job.


Name: JR

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury:  Stroke

Explanation of Mask:  Yellow because I am always nauseous. Eye lashes because I used to take care of myself. Green is for the nausea and dizziness that I feel every day. The brown is the headaches on the right side. “World World” the double vision on my right side. I used to be a talker; I don’t talk anymore, so I don’t have to repeat myself (pointing to the safety pin). White paint is for the saliva that drips down my mouth. I hope to be normal someday soon.


Name: RE

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury:  Two Strokes better than one 🙂

Explanation of Mask:  

Is an example of Before and After of a Stroke

Before Mask                                                                                      After Mask

Expresses the confidence                                                             Expresses the confidence now

of everyday                                                                                        hopeful and a little ecstatic


Name: RM

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury:  Hemorrhage

Explanation of Mask:  The mask is due the symbolism of my job. My blue is for when I’m active. The black is for when I’m non-active. The next is for the tape, is can’t say anything. The blue is back cause this ain’t goin be the end.

I used blue/black to symbolize my job as a police officer. I can’t express myself—that’s the ribbon over my mouth. Being a police officer is like being in a family. I put a cross over my eye because I can’t be at work like before. There is a crime happening and I can’t do anything about it.

Name: Rueben

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Right Pontine area

Explanation of Mask:  Initially I didn’t feel  anything- no pain. I was confused as to why I couldn’t control my left arm and leg. My tongue was uncontrollable, no one could understand what I was saying but I understood all being said all around and to me. The worst feeling was that I could not act on my own. I have felt very weak, lacking small activities that I could do before with no effort. I have nosebleeds whereas before I had none. I have experienced headaches. Again, before I never had a headache. My tongue feels as if there is a ball of cotton in my mouth.

I will exert myself to bring myself to as normal state as I can. I have no head pain still and I cannot get to the damaged area of my brain. What I can do is to practice again and again and to practice fine motor skills.

I will try to do as much as I cannot to be a hindrance to my wife and loved ones. At the moment I feel as if I am too dependent on others but I feel strongly that I seek independence as much as possible. Right now my major viewpoint is that of frustration.  My screw on the brain tells about the Cerebro Vascular Accident (CVA) while he cotton ball discusses my mouth and tongue. The brown denotes the anger at myself while the yellow and red indicate the uncertainty. I do thank God for my continued life!

Name: RV

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask:  I painted my mask black because I feel empty. The yellow around my eyes represents my feelings of having no function. The blue of the left eye symbolizes by tears because I cry a lot. The red paint represents my frustration because my brain can’t think right. I put safety pins over my mouth because I can’t express myself like I want to. I am not important.

Name: SM


Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury from car accident

Explanation of Mask: I feel alone, scared, frustrated and overwhelmed, but happy. The screws show I broke my skull. There was blood on my face and mouth. I have trouble seeing. There is a problem with my eye. I am happy to be alive. My daughter Ademia makes me happy.

Name: Andy

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: TBI

Explanation of Mask: Excluded, forgetful, worrysome.  I used/intergrate, made my colors because it represents how I feel about my life.  I had to make/start over, use canvas and new colors to make things beautiful for myself again.  I used black outline to represent the cloudiness and the grey represents the cloudiness, forgetfulness, negative feelings and the emptiness in my life.  I believe in Jesus and had an out of body experience; I had a dream about going to hell and seeing bad things.  I have a real connection to my faith and my son who passed away.  Feathers are a reflection of how life goes.  If you look to the lighter colors you can see you don’t always have to be in the dark.

Name: Carlos G

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: On October 2, 2011, I was working on the tail on an aircraft and fell from it resulting in me having a traumatic brain injury.

Explanation of Mask: Angry, depressed, hopeful.  Prior to my injury, I had a wonderful marriage and family.  I also had a job as an aircraft inspector that I loved working.  For 8 years everything was going great until Oct 1, 2011.  That was the day I lost everything with my wife filing for divorce and me losing my job.  I was furious at everyone and everything.  Along with me being so mad I started getting very depressed.  I started hating myself.  Several times I tried to commit suicide with no luck.  I felt like I was at my rock bottom in life.  Then because of my son who was 7 when I had my accident, I then changed with being a little hopeful on things going on in my life.  Those thoughts of ending my life are gone.


Name: Carlos T

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Run over by a car many years ago.  I spent 3 months in a coma.

Explanation of Mask: Forgetful, angry-blue, sometimes fine, 5 children, confused-white, grandpa, sad.  The blue on my forehead expresses how angry I feel that someone ran over me.  I left my mask white because I am forgetful and get confused easily.  The black by my eyes are because I am sad.  Even though I feel empty, I think of my grandchildren and they make me feel exited.


City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Trauma

Explanation of Mask: Loved, Fortunate.  I color yellow because it makes me happy.  I colored black and blue because I feel very fortunate.  I paint black in the eyes because I get to see the sky again color blue.

Name: Gabriel

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Traumatic Brain Injury

Explanation of Mask: I go to rehab for physical therapy and occupational therapy.  Now I feel mentally smarter and physically stronger.  Also feel more independent.  I painted my mask this way to be creative.  I painted the top of my mask to blue to show that I am getting mentally more capable.  The middle of the mask expresses how physical and occupational therapy made me stronger.  The bottom is yellow to depict how my injury has changed me as a person.  I feel I am not more independent and a better father to my daughter.  I feel like a more mature man since my injury.  I am happy with accomplishing this project.  I was able to do it by myself and use both my hands which I rarely do.

Name: Jon

City: Brownsville 

Brain Injury: Undisclosed

Explanation of Mask: Amazing, orientation, strenuous, habitable, fantastic, memorial.  I painted most of my painting blue because a lot of people wore that color.  The mouth is black because people could say good or bad ones.  There is also a red painted section because I didn’t have any other colors.  I nearly don’t have any feelings from my injury.

Name: Joseph

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Undisclosed

Explanation of Mask: My thoughts, good or bad, feel vivid and vibrant at the center of my head.  I can feel more someday; they make it to the center.  Others get lost and aren’t so easy to describe and/or act upon.

Name: Lisa

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Stroke

Explanation of Mask: Glad, peaceful, doubt, vulnerable, frustrated.  All of these are what I feel everyday.  On my mask, I painted black and yellow to show how I feel.  I have two feelings about things.  The blue head which is how I feel and people don’t accept me as decisive.

Name: Makenzie

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Traumatic

Explanation of Mask: 

Confused: orange, dream-like: purple swirls; accepting, hard, challenging: red brickwall, supported, happy: yellow pineapple, un-fair: puzzle piece, scary.

Orange- confusion- I was super confused

Bells- I hate tingling in my ear

Puzzle pieces- life doesn’t fit together

Thumbtacks- it hurts

Blue paint- my favorite color

Pineapple- my favorite fruit; they make me happy

Chin- brickwall

Name: MG

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: I was hit by a car

Explanation of Mask: Lonely = black, Because I don’t see my mom all the time

Confused = red, I don’t always know what’s happening

Hurt = blue, Because sometimes I can’t talk

Happy = yellow, I don’t know


Name: Olivia

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: TBI 2010

Explanation of Mask: A lot of it was confusion of who I was, who family and friends were.  I was scared of a lot of things; things I am still struggling with.  And of course, a lot of anger.  Scared-feel like I’m running like a chicken without a head.  The sadness that was blazing.  Becoming sad and depressed because everyone is gone and you have to do it on your own.  Happiness, not knowing who I was.  If I did remember it wasn’t worth it.  I could start fresh.  Still working on everything.  I will be my whole life, but I have things to look forward to.


Name: Race

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: I got my injury on June 5, 2016

Explanation of Mask: Frustrated, confused, bananas.  Ever since the brain injury, I’ve been frustrated with day to day living.  Confused by the people I thought cared and going bananas to find myself.  I chose stripes because of the fact that bananas always go through different stages before it’s been ripe.


Name: Scott D

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Strokes

Explanation of Mask: Overwhelmed, anxious, fortunate, loved, doubt, impatient, nervous.

Black- uncertainty, doubt, nervous

Gray- confusion

Green- fortunate and happiness

Red- love that I feel from family and for family

4 colors- identify each family member

Beads- initials of wife and sons

Puzzle pieces- confusion and hope they will fit together soon

Feather- Mardi Gras and colors of my wife and myself

Travel- positive outcome of situation


Name: Sidah 

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: I was t-boned as a passenger, remained in a coma for 16 days and woke up a newborn baby at 22.

Explanation of Mask: Having a brain injury is life changing.  I feel like I have 2 sides depicted by the black and yellow painting.  The puzzle pieces, show my love for puzzles as well as how my memory and ideas felt in my mind.  The cork symbolizes my new love for wine.  I graduated UTSA in 2016 which was a big accomplishment because my accident occurred 2 semesters from graduation.  I love coffee now which I didn’t before.  My love life is completely different and my outlook is great and I’m positive that my life is just beginning.  My brain injury was a blessing in disguise.

Name: Scott N

City: San Antonio

Brain Injury: Head Injury 

Explanation of Mask: Struggling with shoulder pain