Westbury’s Milt Masur – Doctor, Family Man and Artist
Written by Amy Fisher Friday, 25 September 2009
When asked what he hopes to accomplish through his art, Westbury resident Milt Masur responds that this goal is to “accomplish a connection with human beings.” Masur was not always an artist and did not set out to be one; art was just something he stumbled upon.
Masur, who was born in Brooklyn in 1937, went to school to become a doctor and has maintained a medical career that spans over 42 years; he still practices internal medicine today. After becoming a husband and father, Masur said he found a new pleasure: art. It began slowly with sculptures and soon grew to paintings. However, he did not start painting until about five and a half years ago. Masur was mainly a sculptor.
Before he began painting, Masur would take old pieces of furniture or ones that needed work and fix them up. He would refinish cabinets and tables and has pieces in his home that he worked on more than 30 years ago. His house seems like one big piece of artwork.
Masur has lived in Westbury since 1969. Before that he lived in Great Neck, the Bronx and Manhattan. He and his wife have two children who both live in California, a place he enjoys visiting and taking pictures, which he uses as inspirations for his paintings. In fact, Masur said that most of his paintings are from photographs that he himself has taken during his many travels.
“We like to travel very much and wherever we travel, I take pictures,” said Masur. “I have pictures and I transpose them. I don’t copy them. I just use them as a basis for my paintings. I can add or subtract things.”
Masur’s style of artwork is a mixture of impressionism and abstraction. He uses many different techniques in his paintings; takes things of nature to give that real look to the paintings. He has used rocks, pebbles and sand to bring his art to life; for trees in his paintings he uses ropes and string to give it texture before adding the paint onto it. He has also mixed collage and bas-relief art techniques together in many of his paintings. And, to ensure that his outdoor paintings stand the test of time, Masur uses cement backings, rather than wood, and automobile paint.
Masur said he tries to keep his hands in a creative element and the painting fills his time. He originally started painting for fun using pictures of his family and other artwork from different artists but he soon found that he could take it to the next level and is currently on the road to going commercial.
Masur said it was after he painted his “Big Sur” series that he first thought they might be good enough to exhibit. Prior, Masur said it had never dawned on him that his paintings would be good enough for that. “I don’t know how successful I’ll be but up until now, I haven’t really tried,” he said, adding, “Frankly, I’ve been reluctant to let go of them,” said Masur, who admits that if kept all his paintings there would be no more room in his home.
Currently, Masur is represented by the Agora Gallery in Chelsea and his artwork, which was accepted for the third competition in a row at the American Juried Art Salon, is displayed in the “Master Plus” gallery at www.artjury.com and, early next year, his work will be featured in group exhibition at the Agora Gallery www.agora-gallery.com. Additionally, Masur’s work is also available for viewing online at www.Art-mine.com.
According to Masur, art is important because of what it allows people to do. Everyone can look at a painting, but not every person will interpret it the same way, he said. Also, Masur believes that painting allows one person to give something to the world and let people imagine what it is or what it means. “Art allows interplay between the inner self and the outer world. It reshapes your vision of the world inside you and outside you and you interpret it,” Masur said. “Where I got the idea of painting all this stuff, I don’t really know. It just evolved,” Masur said, adding that he combines his own creative mind with ideas from other painters and is inspired greatly by the works of many artists, including Marc Chagall, a “very whimsical artist whose artwork was very unearthly, showing what people cannot do, like flying.”
Masur, at age 72, still practices medicine parttime and, for nearly four years, has been dedicating more and more time to his artwork. He also plays the accordion and expects to have more time to hone his skills once he retires fully. Masur said that being a doctor and having a family can be quite demanding, but “you don’t want to leave this earth without doing a few nice things for yourself,” said Masur, adding that being a father ranks top on his list of accomplishments. “I think the most creative thing I ever did was to have children.”
For Masur, art, along with music, are both extremely important. “There isn’t a culture that ever existed that doesn’t have these things,” he said. “There is a human built-in need for this kind of creativity.”
Image Credits: Steps in San Gimignano, Mixed Media Bas Relief/Collage on Panel, 20" x 36"