I grew up living above my parents restaurant, which meant that I didn’t get a lot of time to hang out with my Dad but when he finished service I would join him in the studio to do my art homework. When he wasn’t being a chef, his other passion for painting took over. I guess it was then that my love for painting really started to flourish. I can’t say that I enjoyed education too much, so when I realised that I could study art at University I pursued that and acquired a degree in Falmouth, Cornwall.
I have been living in London since 2010 and fulfilling this idea of making an income from my creativity. I maintain a fairly balanced combination of painting in the studio and painting murals in the public domain. I get huge enjoyment from both and embrace the influences that both practices have on each other.
My subject matter focuses on animals but always strives to find a human reference to juxtapose an element that might not be previously obvious. For example with my show ‘Afrofabrication’ I entwined fabric patterns to the animals in an attempt to comment on a human desire to cover up, or indeed use flamboyant colours, to attract a mate. ‘Last of my kind’, documents critically endangered birds with references to extinct musicians. The idea for this series of work was to question why humans often fail to recognise a disappearing species yet mourn the death of a celebrity.
My recent documentation of endangered creatures and raising of awareness of statistics has on occasion been associated with activism. I find this a bit daunting as I only see myself as an artist but I definitely see the power of visual language and I’m enjoying using that power via my murals and the modern world of social networking.
© Louis Masai 2020