Painting From History
November 29, 2009 9:45 PM   Subscribe

Tomokazu Matsuyama was born in Japan. He moved to the US when he was around ten years old, not speaking any English, and being overwhelmed by the culture shock of 1980s Los Angeles. His artistic work is a reflection of this upbringing. Matsuyama’s paintings envision traditional Japanese imagery through the lens of American pop art, creating a unique and beautiful hybrid. He strives to portray this global melee through a conscious “appropriation” of all of his influences: cultural, artistic, and personal. Matsuyama’s unconflicted and positively ebullient works do not ask, “What am I?,” but assert, “I am everybody.” (via)

Matsu's work is a more conscious and introspective response to the tensions of bi-cultural experience. An upbringing split between Japan and America spurred the questions of national and individual identity that figure prominently in the style and subject matter of his paintings — attempting to parse the “natural chaos” of our social environment, Matsuyama pushes viewers to confront their conceptions of cultural homogeneity, which seems to contradict notions of Japaneseness.

Discerningly appropriating influences from modern art and Japanese art from the Edo and Meiji eras, Matsuyama’s paintings are an aesthetically exciting and culturally fascinating facet, which portrays the lifestyle of this time.
posted by netbros (14 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Very cool stuff. Thanks for posting this wealth.
posted by nola at 9:56 PM on November 29, 2009

This = Superflat styles applied to the Japaneseamerican experience = cultural recursion overkill = façade of well-illustrated-children’s-storybooks-from-the-70’s-and-80’s like visuals + some classic I-was-a-little-kid-in-the-early-80’s-forms + heavy use of a Murakami © structure = derivative = $
posted by deric at 11:18 PM on November 29, 2009

Yeah, I found it kind of bland.
posted by delmoi at 2:55 AM on November 30, 2009

posted by johnnybeggs at 4:41 AM on November 30, 2009

Check the last link - there's more diversity of style (including what looks like a Playmobile man riding a silver Western art horse - Western as in The Wild West). Keen stuff, I dig it.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:29 AM on November 30, 2009

This is a great art post, netbros; thanks for taking the time to make it so rich. The beautiful abstraction draws me in much more than the popcult or history elements; there's so much to look at in his work. Very enjoyable stuff if you like abstract art.
posted by mediareport at 6:42 AM on November 30, 2009


Lame drive-by comments make MeFi less interesting. Next time maybe think about actually saying something? Or not saying anything if you can't be bothered?
posted by mediareport at 6:44 AM on November 30, 2009 [6 favorites]

I am too awesome to bother forming an intelligent critique of this work

(actually I think it's great stuff, thanksfor the post)
posted by Mick at 6:49 AM on November 30, 2009

I like his work a lot. Maybe I just don't understand enough about art though?
posted by milarepa at 7:49 AM on November 30, 2009

I quite liked what this post showed me of Matsuyama's work. Thanks, netbros.
posted by kryptondog at 8:57 AM on November 30, 2009

I like this art, but also lack the vocabulary to say more than that.

deric, do you have links to any other artists working in this derivative style? I may enjoy them as well!
posted by orme at 9:39 AM on November 30, 2009

I dunno. Pretty cool, if starting to get played out. I was thinking Murakami even before I clicked, and I'm already kinda tired of him. The style isn't entirely derivative, but the idea sure is (by definition, I guess).

Its almost like Japanese artists like this are just figuring out that the rest of the world makes art too. I guess that might actually be true on a systemic level.
posted by cmoj at 1:00 PM on November 30, 2009

Very pretty colors.
posted by JackarypQQ at 4:34 PM on November 30, 2009

He's also Lesportsac's artist in residence right now, if you'd like to buy a lunch bag he designed.
posted by leesh at 6:43 AM on December 1, 2009

« Older Chairman Mao's Underground City   |   Selected Philosophical Transactions of the Royal... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments