Tomokazu Matsuyama blends pop culture and art history to explore his global identity


In Another beliefr, we see a character coming out of a phone booth, which may remind some of the popular British TV series Doctor Who (1963-present). The stand emerges or sinks into a body of water, surrounded by an exuberant array of flowers, snowflakes and trees. Matsuyama’s silhouette appears between worlds, galaxies, and time periods as he enters the world wearing the coolest outfits, which puts him in the 21st century. This anchoring in the present is amplified by the panoply of swimsuit magazines stuck inside the telephone booth.

In the background, there is a psychedelic mix of the seasons, including the bursting of spring dampened by snowfall. The conflicting dualities reflect Matsuyama’s experience of being in an environment, but not of it. Moreover, it conveys how individuals live with multiple cultures, truths, and time periods, all at the same time.

The height of about eight feet another believer was painstakingly crafted in the artist’s studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, over three months. Matsuyama’s studio functions as a workshop and has a team of 20 people who work with him for painting, sculpting and administrative tasks. He compared his practice in the studio to cooking as a chef in a Michelin restaurant, mentoring a sous chef who will eventually go it alone. Except for the help of assistants, every major job, such as another believer, would easily take a year to complete alone, Matsusyama explained. He treats his studio assistants like apprentices, he explained, rather than just employees.


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