We have looked at the work of many artists that were influenced by Japanese Prints, and this week I chose Brooklyn based contemporary artist, Tomokazu Matsuyama who fuses the world of youth culture, and street art with traditional Japanese art in a contemporary and masterful way. By referencing Japanese art from the Edo and Meiji era, the visual language of global, popular culture is reflected in vivid colors applied in meticulous layers and patterns to create a new aesthetic of "classical" modern art.
He had an upbringing split between Japan and America which evolved into questions of national and individual identity that figure prominently in the style and subject matter of his paintings. By referencing artists and elements from both worlds, his work is an expression of multiculturalism, nationality, and identity. Like many artists and writers with a foot in two worlds, his work is layered, complex and intriguing. Having studied business management in Tokyo before finishing an MFA in communication design at Pratt Institute in New York, his view is different from that of most artists.
"While my work is about integration into a new world order of urban cosmopolitanism — what remains are the underlining of specific iconographies that inform my cultural, historical past as Japanese. "
Matsuyama exhibits his work internationally in Tokyo, Osaka, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami and Vancouver and institutions such as the Asian American Arts Center.