“When I went to UAF (University of Alaska Fairbanks). I studied under Ron Senungetuk. The first director for the Native Arts Program at the U. That’s were I studied woodcarving, mask carving with Ron, metal smithing, painting, sculpture and I was also studying business management on the side. I was also working full time, behind the desk kind of job positions. Later on, I discovered, I needed to go back to my art. So I went back to my art full time and it has evolved over time. The new mixed media I have been developing over the years, since 1996, tremendously opened my business to my work and how I can incorporate our stories, our legends and our tales into the work. We see a lot of mask makers today and they are just hanging there, doing nothing, not making any expressions. What I am doing is putting life into the work itself, based off of stories and the colorful expressions that come with it. Some of my work is influence by Nunivak Island, those folks down there with their contemporary artist and pre-contact with westerners had some of the more elaborate configurations. A lot of those stories and masks from those stories had been lost. What I am doing here with my work, is using the stories that I have heard from my elders that are long gone and the actual events that have happened with living folks. With hopes that the stories that are written in to the art will preserve some of these stories.” — John Oscar “Atsaq” is Yup’ik and lives in Bethel, Alaska.