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."
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."
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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