Taizo Matsuyama is based in Berlin and Tokyo and explores abstract compositions in mixed media from found papers and objects. I'm particularly taken with a recent series of minimal monotype print and collages. Careful color combinations and simple yet beautifully assembled shapes are simple, fun, and delicate, and as a series are completely irresistible!
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YS: Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
TM: I’m an artist who is working on diverse mediums such as drawing, painting, printmaking, photography and videos.
What first interested you in art?
Before kindergarten, one of my very early ‘drawing projects’ was hand drawn copies of logos/symbols of global companies. Still I like when I find something that has stories behind its simple forms.
What has your art education been like?
After I majored in visual concept planning at the art university in Japan, I participated in some short courses for fine arts in several art colleges in London and Berlin while I trained and worked as a photographer in Japanese media. Things I learned in London have changed my perspective, and experience in Berlin has changed my life.
You work in a variety of materials such as paint, collage, found objects, and printmaking. Do you emphasize any of those mediums over the others, or is the fun in experimenting with different methods?
I mostly transfer from one medium to other one each time I do the projects. One of the reasons is I like a kind of art that ideas outweigh its techniques, so I think I should not get used to any methods. I like it when I find something that happens unintentionally. I always plan the procedure that it will be able to give the unexpected results to my works. But the biggest reason to switch the materials is to bring me to other places for having fun, just like a journey.
You're from Japan but currently based in Berlin; how long have you been there?
I have been in Berlin for two years. Recently I made my base in Tokyo again and I’m trying to work in both cities.
Has the location altered or influenced the work you make?
Definitely. For me, being a stranger is the best way to be creative and productive. Berlin is a nice place to get to know many artists from all spheres, and also an ideal place to be alone and concentrate. I’ve never felt like that before in any other cities.
Can you tell me a bit about your process? How do you come up with your ideas, or get started on a new piece or series?
In many cases, ideas are emerging from my daily landscape sketches. Through several procedures of each medium, first sketches lose their concreteness in exchange for getting new abstract forms and textures. In my found objects series, I regard each item as the same thing as as given element in nature landscape. I just give them alternative functions as they lead me. It is to create that very nature itself.
What is your studio or workspace like?
I’ve been using an ordinary flat as my workspace. I'm always looking for another space to make my ideas work.
What or who has been a major influence on your work? What inspires you?
As an artist, what has been the most challenging thing you've encountered so far?
Not only geographic meaning, but moving to Berlin was a drastic change in my life. Far from the past works as a photographer, I started focusing on my own creation in Berlin for the first time. It has been still challenging but it’s incredibly exciting.
What do you need most as an artist?
Playful mind and diligent attitude.
What would you consider to be your greatest success or accomplishment so far?
Everything is a work in progress till the last moment.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?
1. Monthly Zine project is starting. First one “disciplines” is just released on my website. It consists of drawing and collage works from 2016.
2. My video work will be a part of Berlin based art book project “REPLIKA Issue:2 Ellipse” Launch exhibition will be taken place in Berlin in January 2017. It is the three dimensional magazine where 10 artists get together from all spheres to explore unified concept. Actual date/place of the launch to be announced when it gets closer. My woodcut works are also shown on their past issue.
Anything else you would like to add?
I’m showing my works on Instagram almost everyday. No selfie, No lunches, No #ootd, I show my work: Instagram.com/tzo
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Find more information and examples of the artist's work at taizomatsuyama.com.