Local artist Patrick Riley admits that he didn't know much about Lady Gaga when the Ford Center's marketing team contacted him about making a gift for her.
That soon changed.
"I went to one of the bookstores and bought a biography about Lady Gaga," Riley said. "So I read her biography and then I went ahead and watched all her videos and listened to her music, so I really got into thinking about who she is, what she's about."
The nationally recognized mask maker initially drew up about 20 different mask designs he thought the internationally lauded pop star might like, eventually settling on a design of silver lightning bolts and black lace that he felt symbolized the artist's "dark side."
Kim Ransford, communications manager for the Ford Center and Cox Convention Center, said that the mask was presented to Lady Gaga backstage, before the show, in a tradition rooted in hospitality.
"We always give something to our visiting artists, and we always try to give them something representing our home state," Ransford said.
After all his research, Riley said he's proud to call himself a fan.
"She is so talented. Her songwriting ability for a culture of today is just amazing," he said. "I really have a deep appreciation for her as an artist."
Riley said the opportunity to make a mask for her was a great honor, and something that wouldn't have been possible 15 years ago without a major-act concert stop like the Ford Center.
"It really shows me how much Oklahoma City has become a national city," he said.