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Vegas - 2016 - Issue 3 - Summer - Sush Machida

Vegas Magazine - Niche Media - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.

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SUSH MACHIDA WITH HIS BRILLIANTLY COLORFUL MURALS AND UNAPOLOGETIC EASTMEETSWEST FUN FUSION STYLE, THIS POP MURALIST HAS PUT HIS OWN STRONG IMPRINT ON THE CITY. BY KRISTEN PETERSON WHEN REVIEWING THE WORK OF SUSH MACHIDA IN 2009, Los Angeles Times art critic David Pagel hailed his pieces this way: "Pop art never looked more scorchingly gorgeous or wickedly Zen." It was the perfect summation of the Japanese-born painter, who creates waves and clouds like a wild Zen master, minimalist forms that are strong, soft, powerful, and light, all at the same time. His hard-edged abstract works bring Japanese woodcut traditions into the contemporary realm with a sense of ease and flamboyant joy. Brightly hued tigers represent Japanese symbols of luck in the same East-meets-West fashion. Colorful fish are common subjects, as are the accompanying air fresheners, perfume bottles, and cigarette packs that offer humorous commentary on their size and smell. The son of a professional competitive bike rider in Japan, Machida moved to the United States in his 20s, using college as his excuse to skateboard and snowboard in Utah. According to local lore, renowned art critic Dave Hickey first noticed Machida's zany green hair—and then, of course, his talent—while Machida was an undergraduate at Utah State University, and introduced him to the idea of being a professional artist. "I didn't know that anybody was making a living making art," Machida recalls. He went on to attend UNLV as an MFA student under Hickey. In the 15 years he's lived and worked here, the 43-year-old artist has made a strong impression on Las Vegas. Of four recent public art commissions, three are in town, including a large-scale mural with Tim Bavington on Downtown's Emergency Arts building at Sixth and Fremont Streets and 2,000 square feet of peaceful and happy murals for Hope Corridor at Clark County's Child Haven, whose work—protecting children from abuse—he is passionate about. Like his paintings, his mural in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas consists of panels, a traditional style of art in Japan where space is scarce. He's one of 17 Las Vegas artists featured in the Nevada Museum of Art's "Tilting the Basin: Contemporary Art of Nevada" exhibit opening in August in Reno. He's making his mark in other ways, too: Machida is donating a work of art through Vegas's Art of the City project to assist in the massive fundraising effort to build The Modern (, a contemporary art museum, education center, and sculpture park in Downtown's burgeoning arts neighborhood. "He's a serious artist," Hickey says. "He's not just in it for the glory. [His work] is always kind of crazy, but it's never too much, never more than you want. It's just right—exquisite and graceful. It lives on the surface." "Tilting the Basin" runs August 5–October 23; 90 VEGASMAGAZINE.COM L A S VEGA S

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