• Words by ByteGirl and Kristy Calabro

Five Facts for Friday with Tomokazu Matsuyama


Houston Bowery Mural, 9.12.19 Photo by (@catscoffeecreativity)


Just a few days ago, busy social media bees were buzzing trying to figure out, who was next up at the Houston Bowery Mural? It just so happened that we had the #SoldScoop! You heard it on our Instagram page first, that Tomokazu Matsuyama would be the latest to paint the wall at the corner of Bowery and Houston Street. I think we gave FOMOFEED a little FOMO because they mentioned us in their stories, and credited us with having this exclusive information, (thanks, guys!). Sold wanted to learn more about this Japanese contemporary artist so here are Five Facts for Friday with Tomokazu Matsuyama.

Houston Bowery Mural, 9.12.19 Photo by (@catscoffeecreativity)

FACT # 1. Paintings are all done by hand and he has an interesting logging system for his paint colors.


Tomokazu Matsuyama paintings take up to 3-4 months to complete. They’re not printed digitally or collage, but all done by hand. In his studio, he and his assistants have weekly critiques and they review everyone’s art and give feedback. They have logged every single paint color and mixture he has ever used. If he wants to use a color again, he can look up the equation and recreate it.

Wynwood Walls, 2018 (photo by @bytegirl24)

FACT # 2. Sampling or appropriation in Art is showing respect.


He samples and uses images that are extremely public or of very traditional Japanese icons. He has also worked with de-constructioning brand logos and making them his own and paying homage to great art masters like Basquiat, Hirst, Kusama, Matisse, etc.

Pic courtesy of artist's Instagram (@tomokazumatsuyama)


FACT # 3. "Peanuts" characters, are the most fun yet challenging icons to play with in making art.


Tomokazu Matsuyama was part of Peanuts Global Artist Collective in Hudson Square where he painted a gate on Greenwich St. Read about it in the Sold article from April 2018 here: Peanuts in Hudson Square. He also does many art and fashion collaborations like his sold out Peanuts tote bag for Herschel. Click Here.

Peanuts Artist Collective, 2018 Photo by (@johndomine1)

FACT # 4. Painted Wynwood Walls in 2018.


Painted at Wynwood Walls 2018 and it shows figures playing mixed martial arts. His murals are usually filled with bright colors and incorporates inspirations from his rich Asian heritage. It is an epic wall that immediately catches your attention and it took 12 days to complete.

Wynwood Walls, 2018 Photo by (@johndomine1)

FACT # 5. He thinks it's very important to carry on the apprenticeship tradition.


Tomokazu Matsuyama sponsors a few artists a year and pays their visas. They work for him and are required to make their own art and he helps them get exhibits. His assistant, Tsukasa Kanawa has been working for him for ten years and has art for sale at 3rd Ethos Gallery. His first assistant was Meguru Yamaguchi and is blowing up right now showing at MOMA.

He likes his art to be a mashup of what makes us all very unique. He calls it, “the hybrid of our time.” It is how cultures mix and feed off of each other. What better stage to highlight this than at the Houston Bowery Mural? It's where thousands of people from all walks of life pass by on foot, by car or bike, every single day. Tomokazu started on the streets in the 90's with the likes of KAWS and Whisbe and it's going to be nice to see his work publicly once again in NY. From Haring to Matsuyama, we hope that this 37+ year old outdoor art exhibition will continue to resonate with New Yorkers for years to come! Sold was first with the scoop and we’ll be there when the wall is completed in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for more work in progress shots from the Sold Crew!

Wynwood Walls, 2018 Photo by (@johndomine1)

For more information:

Website - matzu.net

Instagram - @tomokazumatsuyama

Facebook - Tomokazu Matsuyama

Houston Bowery Mural, 9.12.19 Photo by (@catscoffeecreativity)

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