Tomokazu Matsuyama Japan, b. 1976


“The convenience of our time has made how layered our culture is indefinite. When we see an image, we try to find connections. I accumulate all of this visual dialect and bring it together as though it has meaning, and the viewers make up a story based on their upbringing.”

- Tomokazu Matsuyama

Tomokazu Matsuyama creates work that responds to his own bi-cultural experience of growing up between Japan and America by bringing together aspects of both Eastern and Western aesthetic systems. His practice repositions traditional icons within a broader global context in order to create a distinctive style that resists cultural categorization and embodies what the artist refers to as the “struggle of reckoning the familiar local with the familiar global.” By raising questions of national and individual identity through the formal qualities and subject matter of his paintings, Matsuyama examines the “natural chaos” of our social environments and challenges viewers to confront their own conceptions of cultural homogeneity.


Matsuyama is influenced by a variety of subjects, including Japanese art from the Edo and Meiji eras, classical Greek and Roman statuary, French Renaissance painting, post-war contemporary art, and the visual language of global, popular culture as embodied by mass-produced commodities.


Matsuyama currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received his MFA in Communications Design from the Pratt Institute, New York. Recent exhibitions of Matsuyama's work include Realms of Refuge, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL; Tomokazu Matsuyama: Accountable Nature, Long Museum West Bund, Shanghai, China; Tomokazu Matsuyama: No Place Like Home, Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery, Luxembourg; Tomokazu Matsuyama: Same Same, Different, Lumine Zero, Tokyo, Japan; Tomokazu Matsuyama: Oh Magic Night, Hong Kong Contemporary Art (HOCA) Foundation, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong; Edo Pop: The Graphic Impact of Japanese Prints, Japan Society, New York, NY, USA; Tomokazu Matsuyama: Palimpsest, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA; Thousand Regards, Katzen Arts Center at American University Museum, Washington, DC, USA; and Made in 17 hours, Museum of Contemporary Art Museum, Sydney, Australia, among other galleries and institutions. Public displays of Matsuyama's work include a permanent sculpture installation, Shinjuku Station East Square, Tokyo, Japan; public mural installation, Beverly Hills, CA and a permanent sculpture installation, NIKE Japan HQ, Tokyo, Japan. Matsuyama’s works are in the permanent collections of LACMA, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA, USA; The Royal Family, Prince of Dubai, UAE; Bank of Sharjah Collection, Dubai, UAE; Microsoft Collection, and more.