Art March, 7 2013

Inside the Brooklyn Studio of Japanese Artist Tomokazu Matsuyama

Spoon & Tamago get to nosey around the studio of Tomokazu Matsuyama (Matzu), a Japanese artist based in Brooklyn. A man of many talents, Matzu went from business school to graphic design, to professional snowboarding then art direction, advertising to eventually going solo as an artist. His work is vibrant, uplifting, modern but deeply linked to his heritage and homeland. As he describes it, “heavy on the Soy Sauce”, he attributes his success abroad to the popularity of traditional Japanese imagery, whilst “Maybe it’s because Japan is an island but there’s a deep admiration for the foreign. Some Japanese might see my work and acknowledge it as a visual language that’s too close, too familiar.” A well organised studio set up, we get a look at some work in progress, his collection of rare nineteenth century ‘Ukiyo-e’ prints as well as collaborations for the likes of Levi’s and Nike – creating a pair of sandals for the brand he convinced them to his place his designs on the sole “so that the art is the first thing to rub off and disappear.” Take the tour in the gallery.