His works are unique & distinctive of his style be it signage, a jewellery piece or even a helmet.
MASA SCULP - famed Japanese artists and jeweller, known for curated and collaborative creations ranging from jewellery and accessories, with iconic brands such as Wtaps, Peanut & Co etc.
A truly creative mind with a broad range of interest, musing on a period when the music started, the 1st world war broke, followed with the neofolk & baroque cultures. His works are unique & distinctive of his style be it signage, a jewellery piece or even a helmet.
We have a chat with the man himself and see what is he up to these days.
We know that you started your interest as a sign painter, and it grew to sculptures and jewellery. Can you share with us on how you started The MASA SCULP and what were your early influences?
I started as a job sculpture first, and sign painting and jewellery making later. I was crafting and drawing when I was a kid, and then later it all developed into MASA SCULP. I started from making monster key chains and such. I was into ED Roth and Von Dutch at the time.
For your sculptures, paints, sign and jewellery, what are your inspirations and muses?
I am inspired by lots of things, especially by the period of 1910～1950. The culture of that time inspires my works a lot; the cars, the music and the interior. But I would say that my inspiration is a mix of so many different things and variety of ltures; American and uropean cultures that lies in the base of it. I have a broad range of interests!
“AS THESE DAYS ARE DIFFICULT FOR EVERYONE, ESPECIALLY ON SMALL BUSINESSES, I HAVE BEEN PAINTING AND GIVING AWAY NEON-COLOURED ''TO GO'' & ''TAKE AWAY'' SIGNS TO MY FRIENDS' RESTAURANTS RECENTLY, AS A WAY TO SUPPORT THEM.”
You've collaborated with a lot of Japanese brands and you are also one of the designers for WTAPS and Descendant. Can you share with us your experience working alongside Tet?
Working with Tet is a truly enjoyable experience. Despite both having a wide range of interests, we have plenty of things in common, and we build the ideas from there. I admire Tet's aesthetics; he just has great taste!
Are you working on any new project at the moment?
As these days are difficult for everyone, especially on small businesses, I have been painting and giving away neon-coloured ''TO GO'' & ''Take Away'' signs to my friends' restaurants recently, as a way to support them. I am also working on several brand logos now and finishing a sign for a store.
“I AM NEVER REALLY STRESSED SINCE I AM DOING WHAT I LOVE MOST! BUT I JUST STARTED LEARNING UKULELE, WHICH I FIND IT QUITE RELAXING.”
Can you share with us your design style and what year you started designing?
I love so many styles, so my style is free and mixed. I really cannot remember in what year I started; probably around 18 years ago.
There was the lighting for Descendant store in Meguro, which we think was very creative and interesting. We only learned that it was one of your design, when we visited your studio. What was the story behind the design?
About this light, I figured Art Deco lettering would fit nicely. That is why I painted it in this style.
Other than designing for your brand & painting, what do you do to relax and de-stress?
I am never really stressed since I am doing what I love most! But I just started learning Ukulele, which I find it quite relaxing.
What are the 3 movies that most important to you? Feel free to share with us even any Japanese movie.
I love The Blues Brothers, Once upon a time in Hollywood & Mad Max 2.
Care to name 3 musicians or bands that consider important to you personally especially while you do sculpture and painting.
My personal favourites are The Clash, Django Reinhardt, Chuck Berry.
Any good books/articles you can recommend to us?
I would recommend ''The Art of von Dutch'', "Handcrafted Modern", "Russian Avant-Garde Art 1920-1930"
What are your activities during this lock-down period? Have you been staying at home or do you able to go to your studio in?
I ride a bike to my studio these days (had to switch from commuting by train previously). I work alone in my studio, not meeting many people.
What is your opinion on the current global situation and what is your forecast on how things will be particularly for our industry, post-pandemic?
There is so much stuff that we want to do but cannot right now. So, I think when this all of this is over and we are free to do what we want, we will all have lots of fun!
Any last word?
When the pandemic is over, I think I will visit Malaysia!
Interview: Jem | Translation: Khalisa Johari | Photography (Masa Sculp) | Graphic: Adrian Nunis
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