Martin Hsu is friendly with an effervescent positive energy. It’s easy to just write something like that, but when you first meet him and see his eyes get genuinely wide, you’ll know it’s all true. Originally from Taiwan, Hsu lived in Southern California and went to school in Orange County. He’s nearly a 100% LA native, but his recent move to San Francisco provides a new energy into his art work. A slight hike from the Mission District, he lives in the Castro area in a Victorian home.
An impromptu visit yielded a charming house, great artwork everywhere (no, not all by him), and many “cool things”. He made me some tea and showed me his studio area where I got to see his works in progress for Undercurrents, which is beginning at Giant Robot 2 in just under two weeks.
GR: How did you get started in art?
MH: As far as I can recall, I started in art on drawing on the back of torn out calendar pages at my grandparents’ house in Taiwan in elementary school. They took care of my cousins and I when our parents were at work. Those are still the most treasured times of my life.
After graduating from CSUF with a degree in animation, I worked professionally as a character designer for a number of years before diving into the world of putting paint on wood. It’s an incredible feeling turning personal ideas into original pieces people enjoy, and I couldn’t do it without the support from my amazing friends and family.
GR: What’s your day time life like? Can you mix that with your art work?
MH: This year I’ve decided to take a break from my professional work and focus on personal art for a bit. For the first time in my life, I’m on my own working for myself and I feel extremely blessed being able to do so. My days nowadays are consisted of lots of walking around in San Francisco. When I’m not sketching or painting, I enjoy lying down on the grass at Dolores Park in between coffee shops watching and listening to people around me. It’s something quite special and I hope to do it for a while.
Some pieces from his upcoming exhibition Undercurrents