Love for your craft is one thing, but the level of dedication adds an entirely new meaning to the word…Masu, you are a self-taught artist with beautiful visions, and you have a lot to show for it. Was there inspiration for you to start painting such as family or another artist…or was it just a hobby that grew into a passion?
My father is an artist, my grandma is an artist, my grandfather is a movie director and the list continues. I was born into a family of artists in many different forms, and I just happened to choose the fine art path.
I originally wanted to be a singer/songwriter, and I’d draw to relieve stress. I ended up getting really good at drawing and enjoyed it more so I stopped writing, but I’m also a great writer. It’s a hidden talent that I only really share with loved ones.
What was the most difficult thing for you starting out as an artist?
Finding my style was the most difficult thing for me. It’s hard trying to put all your thoughts onto paper and/or a canvas.
I have noticed that a lot of your pieces have a musical aspect to them. Why these specific artists, and which piece is your favorite thus far?
I pick artists based off of what I like and not what everyone else likes. I don’t really listen to many of today’s new artists because their music lacks substance to me. So I pick artists that have moved me in some way and have gotten me out of a funk at some point in my life. My favorite piece is my To Pimp a Butterfly painting (Shown bottom right). Blavity officially has it in their art gallery, but I hold it near and dear to my heart.
It’s also the first painting where I introduced my signature monarch butterfly.
You attended Otis College of Art and Design and the School of Visual Arts. What made you choose a different route, and do you think that this change was for the better?
I left Otis specifically because I was no longer happy there, and I was no longer happy in LA. Going to SVA gave me a lot of clarity, and it actually pushed me to work harder. It was a difficult time, but it did in fact change me into the artist I am today.
How do you feel about everything that is going on in the world today? You have a Black Lives Matter inspired painting that I love. Tell me about it.
All the violence going on isn’t something I really like to speak on. Gun violence has taken away a lot of my family members and friends so I decided to let my art speak for itself. It really just symbolizes pain and hurt. The butterfly is something precious and delicate and a gun is exactly what it is a weapon of mass destruction. In this piece the butterfly is me that’s why the piece is called When You Murdered Them, a Part of Me DIED Too. Every black and brown person killed I feel the pain, I feel the hurt, like them I feel.
You have a full sleeve that includes part of an Audrey Kawasaki painting, Forever Still. It’s beautiful! What inspired this?
I have multiple tattoos, which is a bit crazy to me at times. My sleeve is inspired by my life, it represents me specifically. All of my ink has to do with something that happened in my life. I love flowers, sunflowers and roses specifically; elephants are my favorite animal and I respect Buddhism and their worship towards Ganesha, and Audrey Kawasaki is one of my favorite artists. All that tied with henna like designs is how my sleeve came about. I also have a hummingbird on my neck, writing on my right wrist, a rose on my right hand, a Michelangelo quote and piece on my right forearm, roses on my right wrist, and angel wings on the back of my neck which all symbolize something, but I’d be talking forever if I explained each one.
Describe your dream art studio…
My dream art studio consists of floor to ceiling windows, all white, wooden floors, and high ceilings. I want nothing but greenery on the outside, something like my own forest that I can stare at as I paint and the breeze hits my face. I want to be able to watch the bees, the butterflies, and the birds sing. I want a white crocheted hammock where I can rest and read on my down time and an upstairs loft where my bed and other essentials will be. Lots of crystals, dream catchers, and candles will surround my space keeping all the negative energy away from me and my art. Also, no shoes will be worn in my space. No outsiders will be allowed in my space unless something special is taking place. It’ll be like my secret sanctuary.
What is your next move? Any current/upcoming projects that you can speak on?
I have a lot of moves that I can’t speak of currently, but I can say look out for a solo art show coming this December.
Masu, you are an amazing artist with such a beautiful spirit. Thank you for taking the time to share pieces of your journey. Congratulations on all your accomplishments, and best wishes on all your future projects!
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