Changing Hearts And Minds With Conscious Art with Louis Masai on the Sustainable Jungle Podcast #sustainablejungle

Podcast #10 · Louis Masai · Changing Hearts And Minds With Conscious Art

“I was like, “holy shit”, why doesn’t anyone talk about this in our tabloids, why is it we’re talking about celebrities dying and who’s in the big brother household – why aren’t we talking about species in decline?”

Louis Masai

“Louis Masai is a visual artist based in London. He uses his research on endangered species as a topic of discussion to heighten the general public’s awareness of the ‘sixth mass extinction’. When not working in the studio, Masai travels around the world painting murals in cities, towns, and villages. These are often of locally endangered species. His paintings have reached out to people in ways that environmentalists and activists find hard to capture. To this effect, he often works alongside scientists, and conservationists as well as environmentally minded companies.”

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Read our article about Louis Masai and his work here.

This interview is one of our favorites, a “real” and authentic discussion with someone who really, truly cares about the environment and has dedicated his career to communicating critical messages about species in decline. We cover the following:

  • Louis’ background, his early influences, exposure to nature and how he felt grounded in Cornwall, England (~1.20)
  • Early exposure to the world of art and how Louis’ family supported and embraced his talent (~4:30)
  • Louis’ love, compassion and empathy for animals and how it evolved to become his focus as an artist (~6:45)
  • Louis’ evolution as an artist, including early days in Cornwall, his move to London, scraping the barrel, investing in himself and becoming an established artist (~9:15)
  • Louis’ view on favorites and how painting on different mediums generate different experiences (~13:10)
  • The artist community in London, including the collective, Human Nature and how globally, there aren’t many artists that focus only on animals and animal awareness (~15:55)
  • Why it’s hard to run creative projects due to financial dependence on ethical funders (~18:45)
  • The Endangered 13 project in a cemetery in London, the local butterflies and where to find it (~20:50)
  • The ‘Art of Beeing’ project in the US, 20+ murals, creating a thread of connection throughout the country and highlighting the importance of the environment (~24:00)
  • Why Louis’ ‘The Art of Beeing’ murals are of patchwork animals (~29:20)
  • Connecting to his subjects and how it helps when painting them (~31:15)
  • Memories from ‘The Art of Beeing’ trip including inspiration from the Detroit community and the manatee experts in Florida (~34:05)
  • Public response to Louis work including the problem of gentrification and deeply connecting with the locals (~36:45)
  • The trickiness of doing the “right thing” and how communication and consultation with all stakeholders helps (~40:20; ~44:50)
  • Taking a risk on putting work out into the public and having opinions (~44:10)
  • Rhino poaching, Louis’ South African trip, the murals he painted there and inspiration from the people (~45.30)
  • How Louis’ experience of the South African “heartbeat” inspired him to focus on endangered species (~49:00)
  • Louis’ podcast “All Fruits Ripe” including inspiration, premise, flow and powering a “nomadic sound system” (~50:40)
  • What’s concerning Louis most about the world today including thoughts on biodiversity and the plastic in the oceans (~56:00)
  • The use of art in communicating the message, being more than just a good artist and the importance of saying something (~59:00)
  • Louis’ thoughts on being labeled as an activist artist and the importance of inclusive and deliberate wording (~1:03:05)
  • Inspiration from other artists working towards similar outcomes (~1:08:40)
  • Louis’ sign off “One Love” and what it means (~1:11:00)
  • What’s next for Louis including a plant project and a cookbook (~1:13:35)
  • Advice, tips, and tricks for young artists and creatives (~1:15:45)

“Why did it take a BBC documentary for you to suddenly realize that the plastic that you’re throwing in the bin is probably going in the ocean… If [plastic poisoning] is happening to dolphins, what makes people think that that’s not happening to humans?”

Louis Masai

Notable Links

Louis Masai:

Other topics covered:

  • Louis’ ‘The Art of Beeing’ clothing sponsors, EcoAlf
  • Elizabeth Fleming from Defenders of Wildlife – Manatee Conservation in Florida
  • All Fruits Ripe Podcast co-founder, Hylu (also a DJ/producer/engineer and founding director of Unit 137)
  • Josh Keyes – American artist focusing on animals
  • Never Crew – Swiss street artists focusing on nature and animals

Changing Hearts And Minds With Conscious Art with Louis Masai on the Sustainable Jungle Podcast #sustainablejungle

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