Today we’d like to introduce you to Mazena Puksto.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised in Vilnius, Lithuania. My mother put me into the arts since I was in kindergarten. Doing theater, painting, sculpture, piano, traditional Lithuanian dance and music and ballet. When I moved to United States in 2007, I was 16 and went straight to a boarding arts high school, where I continued to study dance. From there, I switched my major to visual arts, studying painting and sculpture. After high school, I went to University of North Carolina school of arts and majored in Wig and Makeup Design, which was the thing that brought me here to LA. I’ve been working and living in Los Angeles as a professional makeup artist in the film and tv industry and worked in Special Effect Labs. I continued making my artwork, simultaneously while working as a makeup artist.
One day, I received a phone call from Charles Long, an American contemporary sculpture legend. We were connected through a woman with whom I studied glassblowing within North Carolina. He was looking for someone who can sculpt “skin”. Since I was a sculptor myself and working in Special effects labs, where we make bodies and creatures, and all sorts of “skin” like beings, I was hired as his assistant, and my life changed forever. I worked alongside Charles for a few years, showed at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, “Made in LA” at the hammer museum. We have also collaborated on a couple of sculptures as a Duet.
From that point on, I really started to focus on my personal work. Digging deep into my roots, my childhood, my anxieties and struggles, my exploration of darkness and light and my love for culture and human condition. I’ve been working on a body of work that is fueled by instinct and is a way to stand still with myself.
Has it been a smooth road?
Nothing is ever a smooth road. There is no such thing. It has been a chaotic, followed by moments of harmony, followed by thunderstorms, followed by stillness. I think the biggest struggles have been the ones inside myself. Being foreign, living all over the world and different states, and constantly having been tossed from school to school, it puts a dent in your journey to find who you are. Because you have to adapt to rapid changes and play catch up all your life, I never felt like I could stand still and listen to my inner voice and heart without being interrupted.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My mixed media/ resin works are sort of an exploration of landscape. They are sort of fossils of worlds that have collapsed or died. Frozen in time (fossilized) and then decorated to preserve and capture the beauty of them. They are sort of fossils of worlds that have collapsed. Pieces of farmed lands. My most current works are the dots. They are also sort of abstract landscapes, mountainous ranges filled with tiny dots inside. This work started actually when the Black Lives Matter movement was beginning to rise. I started getting very anxious and each dot was a sort of relief and a representation of each person or group of persons, and each dot is different, some smaller some bigger, and all imperfect.
On a lighter note, for fathers day I made my dad a shirt with my and my sister’s face on it with a funny thought bubble, and it sort of took off when I posted it on my Instagram. I started making custom T-shirts for people of their cats and dogs, and kids and it was very fun and brought joy to people’s lives during these hard times of Covid-19 pandemic. Then I drew two personal to me designs; a dead muskrat that says “yes but” and a dead roach that says; “I’m good you good?” and been slowly growing my little T-shirt business on the side.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: mazenapuksto