Mike Maas' studio space looks like a pop culture shop exploded. It's eye candy for any classic Universal Monsters fan and or kid who grew up watching a dozen cereal bowls worth of weekly Saturday morning cartoons.
Between his tidy desk and drafting table on either end of his place lies an array of plastic -- an early-90s Beetlejuice toy sits next to a mint-condition Robotech doll, a Godzilla spews fire on a long-forgotten piece of Ren & Stimpy merch, and KISS Army stuff is just about everywhere.
The studio's full of what he likes, and he says his art is the same -- anyone looking for a deeper meaning in "godzenmonsters", his show opening at Perihelion Arts this Friday, will have to supply their own, he says; he's just painting what he likes.
The show's title, Maas explains, comes from a combination of his inspirations: "There's always the monsters with me. That's what I've loved since I was a kid ... [and] there's also a kind of Eastern philosophy thing."
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One of his featured pieces is a shrunken head flanked by massive snakes. Maas says the piece represents kudalini yoga, which he jokingly refers to as "torture."
Another painting is of King Kong revealing his love for New York, which Maas says is inspired by a Hindu god who rips open his chest to show his love for another god.
In addition to his illustrations, Maas is preparing two sculptures for "godzenmonsters," including a statue of the elephant god Ganesha rockin' a hip-hop style hoodie and a three-eyed goat with tentacles for horns -- what Maas says is "just like the evilest thing I could think to make."
"godzenmonsters" opens at Perihelion Arts, 610 E Roosevelt St., Unit 137 on February 4. For more information, call (602) 334-6299