Volcano Art Center Featured Artists

John Matsushita

My primary medium is encaustics. I happened upon encaustics about 15 years ago when I became bored with waiting for my oil painting to dry and started stripping the wax from my surfboard. As I used a hairdryer to melt the wax off I noticed the dirt mixing in and thought I could possibly mix my paints into it. The result was a wax painting. I soon learned that wax has been in known use since 800 BC as a paint medium. After a lot of research and experimentation I came to love encaustics. Other mediums include wood sculpture, stone sculpture, figurative clay sculpture, and mixed media projects.
I have been a finish carpenter and project manager for about 13 years and have had the opportunity to work on some highly unique projects blending art and function. Recently I have felt the call to focus in on the art side of my creative spirit and now primarily “work” doing art. I draw much inspiration from the many experiences of living and adventuring in Hawai`i. Pursuits such as surfing remote and hidden waves or mountain-biking down the great volcanic mountains of Hawai`i island have given me opportunities to explore areas of Hawai`i that are not often accessed. It is these unique and treasured moments that I try to capture in my art. This love for Hawai`i has been enhanced with world travel and the great honor of continuously meeting people with great hearts, all of which influence my art as well.
My degree is a bachelor’s of fine arts from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa with study at the Art Institue of Southern California in Laguna Beach. I participated in the VAC’s emerging artists show in the fall of 2010. I also was awarded the honor of doing the Wahi kapu sculpture for the Volcano’s National Park in 2006. In the past, I have received scholarships of merit, won various juried art exhibitions, and I have been awarded private commissions throughout the nation. The show, “Collide”, was done as a collaboration with artist, Anne Catlin, in Kona Hawaii, May and June of 2011.

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