Masamitsu Shigeta

1. Could you tell us more about artists that inspired your artistic path ?

There are many artists inspired me. I like Monet, van Gogh, Thomas Nozkowski, Elizabeth Murray, Jean Brusselmans, Frank Walter, Sara Hughe, Jakuchu Ito, Hokusai. I recently saw Bonnard show in NY. The show was very inspiring.

2. Are there writers, philosophers, or musicians that influenced you as well ?

Im not reading parson but I listen music when I paint.

Masamitsu Shigeta, Stone, Oil on panel with wood frame, 16" x 12.5"
Masamitsu Shigeta, Out door dining and a treen, Oil on shaped canvas with wood frame, 61" x 47"

3. How does the idea of a painting come to your mind ?

When I walk around and found something to paint I take those photos. It could be anything but visually interesting. For example patterns, shapes, colors.

4. The notion of cohabitation seems to be central in your works, in particular, the one between nature and urbanism. How would you describe the way you apprehend visually this cohabitation ?

I think all my works have urban and nature. I use Urban and Nature as opposing concept. Urban have many strict lines and expected patterns but Nature have flexible lines and unexpected patterns. I found its interesting to make a harmony out of this.

5. We discovered that you make the frames of your paintings, each one tends to be different and created specifically for its artwork, could you tell us more about it ?

I make frames for each painting after I finished paintings. It reflect some aspect of painting. colors , shapes, materiality. I like it because it add physicality to painting. Also frame making is break from painting in my practice. Some time in my studio I don’t want to paint so I make frames to refresh my mind.

Masamitsu Shigeta, Park, Oil on panel with reclaimed pallet wood frame, 13" x 10"
Masamitsu Shigeta, Night Town, Oil on canvas with carved wood frame, 36" x 28"

6. When we looked at your paintings, we noticed the near absence of human figures, is it voluntary, and if so, what would be the reasons behind it ?

I don’t have very clear reason why there is no human figures in my painting. But I believe it is very important to be alone for art making for me. Also even there is no human figure there are many human made objects in my painting. In the future I’m thinking to paint people more.

7. Related to the previous question, human’s presence itself seem secondary; the persons depicted are often small, in second or third plan, could you tell us more about it ?

When there are human figure I want them to look like part of nature. Like one leaf showing unexpected gestures. I also think I always paint something els as central composition. Like tree, moon, buildings. And I want to paint those looks like human characters. Like a tree looks like it thinking something. A moon looks very shy.

8. We notice some recurrent motives, the passiflora, the sunshine, the moonshine and artificial lights; in all these motives, there is a stary visual radiance, what attracts you to these motives ?

Yes I like glowing light. I think its magical. When I was MFA in NYU there is one bench. I go sit there when I’m having a break from painting. And there is one light in front of it. Somehow I felt it encourage me.

Masamitsu Shigeta, Flower and building, Oil on shaped canvas, 25" x 21"
Masamitsu Shigeta, Red umbrella, acrylic on canvas

9. The way you sometimes depict trees and nature reminded us of Henri Rousseau’s naive works, there is a kind of infant relation to the world in some of the motives, could you tell us how do you feel about these thoughts ?

I totally think I have childlike relations to motives. All of my painting idea start from childlike thought. It is as simple as “this tree looks cool! I want to paint” “the sky is so blue!! I want to paint that” I try to pursue these ideas because it so easy to make a reason to not do it. And often those first reaction is very meaningful idea for me.

10. The scenes of the paintings often take place in night time or in dusk and dawn moments; what attracts you to these moments of the day ?

I think night time makes mind clear. I like walk around city at night time. It shows different face of city and emphasize little lights.

11. A warm and soft atmosphere can be felt through the chromatic choices you tend to make, paradoxically the depicted emptiness seems to contradict these colors, this contrast is seizing. Is this observation relevant to you ?

The colors choice is very random for me. I always use left over color from previous paintings and add more color from paint basket. What I use from observation is more like the tone. Like dark and light. In this way I can use more unexpected colors and chances.

12. Tell us about a typical day of your work ?

I get to studio around 9 in the morning and clean up little bit. And I print out some image I took from phone and start painting. When Im stuck in painting I start making frames for previous works. Or prepare next canvas. Around 5pm I go home.

13. Do you have any future or actual projects to share with us?

I have a show at Gaa gallery in Cologne opening June first. And I have a solo show at 12.26 gallery in Dallas opening September 9th.

Masamitsu Shigeta, Red light, Oil on panel with wood frame, 13" x 10"