French Surrealist artist Andre Masson was born in Balagny-sur-Thérain, France on January 4, 1896. Masson was raised in Belgium and started studying art when he was 11 at at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts. He later finished art studies in Paris. In 1915 Masson joined the French infantry to fight in World War I where he was almost killed in battle. His time at war had a deep impact on his life and art. Originally Masson gained notice as a cubist but he grew tired of it and moved to more a structured style. He created work with vibrant color. Masson was a pioneer of Automatism which is a art method where you allow your hand to draw without the use of your mind; having your hand move randomly across the canvas. Masson passed away in France in 1981.