By Domenica Farishian
It is a rare feat to be accomplished in one of your life’s greatest passions; it is rarer still to be a success in two chosen fields. Especially when those fields come from what many would consider to be two opposing worlds: art and medicine.
By day, Westbury resident Milt Masur is a successful doctor with more than 47 years of experience. By night, Masur taps into another world: the world of his imagination.
“The medical field is very sequestered. It starves you creatively,” said Masur. “Art has sparked big changes in my attitude and life.”
For Masur, those life changes began when he was in his twenties, with his earliest works being sculptures. Without ever taking a formal art class, Masur began casting sculptures, some of which still hold a prominent space in his decorative living room.
Ever the art explorer, Masur ventured out into a new art genre, following in the footsteps of one of his art heroes, Henri Matisse. Masur created four blue nudes, an ode to his hero. Taking a cue from the French artist, Masur crafted bold uses of colors in some of his oil paint landscapes.
“The first paintings that I did were almost cartoons,” laughs Masur. In a cartoon-like setting brought to life, Masur created a series of animals made out of polyvinyl pipes, all placed in his yard in a mini zoo of sorts. “I made a heron, a friendly black panther, a giraffe and a monkey,” he says.
He draws inspiration from the many places he has traveled. Always with his camera on the ready, Masur has photographed an abundance of settings from national parks in Alaska, ocean views in Big Sur California, landscaped fall settings in Tuscany Italy, and even the walls of Jerusalem.
Those photographed scenes are then crafted into Masur’s works of art. “After years sculpting and painting my art evolved into combining both elements together,” he said. Masur explains his technique of first sketching what he photographed, then he plasters over it until he paints it. The final product becomes a 3-dimensional scene he has captured in his world travels.
Some of his other works are of subjects closer to home and his heart. He has many portraits adorning the walls of his house of his two grown sons and daughters in law, his three grandchildren and his wife and himself. “As a doctor I am very interested in recreating the human body in my art.”
What also piqued Masur’s interest in recent years was the question of why art has been calling to him for much of his adult life. “I began to wonder why I was driven to art,” he said.
He began a research endeavor of sorts, reading a series of books about art and the creative process. This led to another creative venture for Masur when he decided to write a summary on the books he had read. Much to his surprise he wasn’t the only one interested in reading them.
“I wrote the summaries because when you summarize it, you learn it. I never dreamed someone would ask me about publishing them,” he said. To date he has written and published five book summaries.
And all that research also helped him realize why he was so drawn to art. “I love art because it is a bridge between our internal selves and external reality,” he says.
The pinnacle of his art career came last fall when he was the solo artist featured at the Bryant Library in Roslyn. Thirty-four of his original works were featured at the library in November and December 2013. “The solo exhibit has been the apex of my art career,” he said.
Another highlight for Masur came last December, when the artist became the muse. The Long Island Composers Alliance wrote a musical piece inspired by Masur’s artwork. “To have a bunch of composers write about my art was really the cat’s meow,” he said.
He has amassed quite a collection of original works with up to 120 paintings throughout his home. Masur’s work has been featured in dozens of galleries on Long Island and New York City, and around the world in online galleries. To see some of Masur’s creations visit www.artjury.com or www.saatchionline.com.
Masur says becoming an artist, while it was something he never planned and was completely unexpected, has changed who he is. “Art has opened up my mind. I see things on a different level,” he said.