It has been a while since I’ve done this “column” on my blog. But, it’s also been a while since I’ve seen an artist who’s work instantly resonates with me. But I want this art so badly, I can hardly see straight.
This cat is the truth. If he isn’t already the hippest thing on the world art stage, he will be. If you have the means, start collecting his art now. His aesthetic, at the present moment, represents so many things that are trendy, but his craft lies in putting his own creative spin on them that they will remain timeless. It will be quite enjoyable to see how his work evolves and flows.
Take the portrait shown above, for example. The style is reminiscent of Ernie Barnes, in some ways. (Barnes was the artist that did the paintings for the television show Good Times, the most famous of which is “The Sugar Shack“.) However, the subject of the portrait has features reminiscent of Beyoncé Knowles. Also, the placement of text, style of the clothing, and use of color makes this picture seem more modern, to my eye. It’s an alluring and captivating mix of both worlds.
In fact, let’s take a look at Barnes and Matsuzawa, side by side, just so you can see what I’m talking about:
Above is the famous painting, “The Sugar Shack” by Ernie Barnes. You can see that the painting has lots of movement and life. Hallmark of Barnes style is the exaggerated limbs, vivid color and contemporary subject matter. (At least, when this was painted, the acts referenced on the signs, the styles, etc. were all part of the black popular music and arts scene.)
Now, let’s take a look at a similar work by Matsuzawa:
The painting definitely has some similarities: the exaggerated limbs and motion of the figures, the vivid coloring. However, you can also see the departure from Barnes in that there is more negative space in the painting, there is a stronger emphasis on the graphic outline of each figure. Also, all the figures in the paintings have the same emphasis and detail, whether they are in the background, or in the foreground in the painting.
You can truly see the influence of the graphic arts in Matsuzawa’s aesthetic. I think this print, called, “Mod” is the best example of how Matsuzawa fuses the “high art” (I hate that term) and graphic art styles:
Again, you have the strong lines, but look at how he’s bent and manipulated that aesthetic . . . . the hat and the dress are a relief print. There is no strong outline with them. However, there is a very strong outline around the features and limbs of the woman in the portrait.
This has to be one of my favorite works by Matsuzawa, look at this portrait of a geisha:
While there are definite symbols that link this art to other, traditional, Asian art, Matsuzawa takes a bold statement by making the sensual geisha figure the center of the portrait, rather than the natural elements that are also present. It definitely has strong ties and visual cues that reference the past. However, this painting is one that you would place definitely as contemporary art.
The works that I’ve discovered so far lean towards bold graphic statements, in larger than life color that are reminiscent of the fabric prints of Emiliano Pucci – bold, graphic, beautiful. They have definite visual cues that remind you of graphic art and advertisements from the 1970s; however, at the same time, they are nuanced and detailed in ways that make them bleeding edge hip. It’s the sort of cool style that makes you think of Miles Davis – seemingly effortless, breathtaking and technically stunning.
Watch this space, my lovelies. This guy is going places.