by Thomas Burke on May 06, 2022

From the streets of Little Italy, San Diego California, Mason's life has been anything but regular. We met Maso back in 2016 on a California road trip where he'd become a regular at our mates place who were living in San Diego. From then we've watched his life unfold from afar, as he travelled up and down the west coast, often hitching a ride on freight trains to find new opportunities to display his graffiti art.  With sporadic catch ups in between now and then, Maso is now living in Australia so we caught up with our old mate. Meet Mason McDaniels.

Łeoide - Hey, what's going on?

MM - Hey, good to see ya! Just cruising out here in Canberra, with my girl Elle.

Łeoide - Canberra, why the fuck are you living there?

MM - haha, don't bag Canberra, the food and coffee scene here is ridiculous! But we're actually looking to move we're just helping Elle's Mum move house right now. Think Melbourne, but maybe we want to be near beaches, we're not sure yet.

Łeoide - Elle, your better half, she's the reason you're out here right?

MM - Yeah, she spent some time over in the states with me last year and I thought it's time to make the jump and come to the land of OZ. She's an amazing artist and a huge inspiration for sure. 

Łeoide - Speaking of art tell us about yours, you like to get pretty abstract yeah? 

MM - I try and mix my mediums up as much as possible, I’ve found that when I stick to one thing my mind starts wandering off into different projects. If I’m working on one piece, I’ll try and have a second project going at the same time, learning to balance between the two is a bit difficult, but makes it easier for to move forward with them  


Łeoide - What gets your creative juices flowing? 

MM - I get inspired easily, but it’s not necessarily from other artists. A game of chess will inspire me to do a certain collage, a movie might lead me to use certain colours, going outside and looking at industrial buildings and the cover ups from graffiti might lead me into a style of painting. It seems that even the most simplistic activities in my daily routine seem to bring me creative ideas. Living with Elle makes it easier to pass around ideas and concepts, so we're constantly creating something.

Łeoide - Do you think art is important in today's short attention span society?

MM - I’m not sure if I’m the one to answer this one. I’m finding it extremely hard to be happy with other artists work now. We need to appreciate and look more into undiscovered artists. I can think back to when covid just happened and how many of those artists work found their way into people’s homes. It seems that nowadays you name drop one artist and that seems to be the only art that people care about.  

Łeoide - Do you have an ideal environment to create in?

MM - I work best by myself, But I’ve had friends in the past that work in the craziest environments… it almost makes me feel like I should give it a try and see what kind of creative spark comes to me. 

Łeoide - Tell me a story about somewhere or someone you have met that has changed the way you look at art.

MM - Graffiti has been a big part in my life, it’s made connect with people and made bonds that will last for the rest of my life. One person in particular my friend ‘Chue’ San Francisco legend who’s made himself up to Portland Oregon in the past decade. I’ve met him out on the street one night and ended up becoming my roommate and best friend throughout the years. His art and graffiti have really influenced my way of thinking.  

Łeoide - Slight topic change here but, what made you want to do some modelling work on the side?

MM - I used to model when I was younger, and then when I worked at raen I would start to be more of a freelance model, I think it’s tricky getting in with the right agency and having to meet a certain height and weight limit. If the photographer likes you that seems to be the best way to make your mark in the modelling industry. 

Modelling is fun, especially when you have the right crew with you. It really depends on the photographer and company you’re working for. I could say it might even feel like a day at the pub with some friends, or it could feel like a 9-5 office job. 


Łeoide - Was it weird to be asked to model for LEOIDE?

Working with ŁEOIDE was a blast, kind of what I was referring to before, if the company and photographer are fun to be around, then you don’t have to stress much about the gig, and it’s a lot easier to be in front of the camera when your mates are cracking jokes and lighting smokes watching the shoot go down. 

Łeoide - One last question, I’ve seen on your socials that you spent some time hitching rides on freight trains, what's all that about?! Does it tie into your art at all?

Living in Portland and the PNW (Pacific Northwest) for a few years really made me have an appreciation for locomotives. I remember my old man was in town for a weekend and I took him down to the local train yard and we went through every rail line marking trains. It was a way of transportation for me, I don’t recommend it to anyone unless you do some reading up on it first, very dangerous and can vouch for most moms that they don’t want to see or hear about it.