Aug 31 2011

Bookmark: Tomokazu Matsuyama

by The Contributing Artist

For Bookmark, ArtAsiaPacific invites an artist to spotlight some of their online sources of inspiration. This week we asked Tomokazu Matsuyama.

Tomokazu Matsuyama is a New York-based Japanese artist whose multimedia projects explore national and individual identity. His binational upbringing, split between Japan and America, figures prominently in the style and subject matter of his paintings. "East Weets Mest," an exhibition of his new works, will debut September 8 at Joshua Liner Gallery. You can see Matsuyama’s artwork at www.matzu.net.

1. The Stroke Master: The epic, poetic gestures of Japanese Calligraphy

Contemporary Japanese calligrapher and performance artist, Koji Kakinuma gives us Rinsho—a study from the great master. Regardless of whether he is in the midst of creating large-scale works or performances, he practices Rinsho in his studio for several hours everyday.

I’m fascinated to see years of practice  represented in a moment—a singular hand gesture signifying a lifetime of work. Being a painter and spending hours upon hours on producing one work, I get so drawn into the facility with which he achieves his work.

3. Anne Hathaway Raps

Being brought up in both the US and Japan, losing something from one place, and picking up new things from another to create what I suppose is a bi-cultural identity, I am gravitated toward seeing things that appear in unlikely places.

Not sure if this is an example of that, but growing up listening to hip-hop and then seeing Anne Hathaway rap unexpectedly, it was the perfect union of two disparate things—a mismatched uniqueness that I simply enjoyed.

5. Back to the Future

An all-time classic from the 80s. I remember this was the very first movie I saw when I moved from Japan to live near LA for a few years. Even though it’s a very straightforward Hollywood movie, and perhaps almost too famous, I still enjoy the un/conventional life that Michael J. Fox lives in this trilogy.

2. Dear Photo: Take a picture of a picture from the past in the present.

One of the approaches I practice with my work is to bridge the gap between histories, hoping to portray what is here in front of us in a historical context with a fresh voice.

When I saw this website, I was instantly captured by the eternal yet ephemeral feel these images possess, where the past is the present and the present the past. The work has both a personal and reminiscent tone we can all share.

4. A Simple Pleasure: The supreme sushi of Kyubei

Kyubei, located in Ginza, is known as one of the most celebrated sushi restaurants in Japan. Established nearly 80 years ago, it is a third generation-run restaurant specializing in the extreme delight of eating raw. This is footage of a fresh kuruma-ebi (shrimp) sushi made by one of the main chefs, Yosuke Imada—what skill. Coincidently, I found out through a friend that this chef was a former roommate from boarding school in junior high—what a small world of artists.

6. Flotille (detail) by Etienne Cliquet

This is a beautiful video, a marrying of science and tradition, almost like a modern/non-traditional origami. These cut and folded pieces unravel by capillary action, with water setting these otherwise-inanimate pieces into motion and reversing them from product to origin—an inverse history.