Shungaboy was born in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. He has been drawing and painting since childhood and, after a successful career as an architect, began to put more focus on his art about 10 years ago. He nurtured his love of male figurative art by volunteering as an archivist at the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation (now the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art) in NYC. The opportunity to study the work of so many other male figurative artists and gain the perspective of the museum and its visitors helped prepare him to launch his career as a full-time artist. At the same time, Shungaboy began attending the erotic male drawing group at Leslie-Lohman where he had the opportunity to draw & paint a wide variety of men in erotic poses. Finding the energy and variety of the workshop format to be great inspiration for his work, he also attended the Tom of Finland Life Drawing Workshop; the Colorado Gay Men's Drawing Group; the Pines Nude Drawing Group in Fire Island Pines, NY; and more recently, he has been attending Male Sketch Sessions at the Vitruvian Gallery in Washington DC. He continues to work mostly in drawing groups and enjoys the camaraderie they provide. Shungaboy lives in NYC.
About the name Shungaboy. Shunga was the erotic art genre in 17th-19th century Japan. Literally, "Spring Art" with the word shun (Spring) connoting sex and ga being art, shunga depicted explicit sexual scenes between men and women as well as men and men. It was a popular, broadly appreciated art form until censorship drove it underground. Being of Japanese ancestry, the artist chose this name as a playful way to convey an appreciation for male figurative art and its place in society.
I often feel oppressed, restricted, even persecuted by society just for who I am, a gay male and an Asian one at that. Why are male nudes so taboo? I want people to see that the male body is beautiful and not scary or something to be ashamed of; I use bright colors because that's how I want to see the world and so people who look at my paintings can begin to see beyond the nudity.