Rather than spending months working away in a studio, one renowned Japanese artist has challenged himself to sit on a plane and create an entire pop-up art exhibition in 17 hours.
Tomokazu Matsuyama, 39, now based in New York, said he found the experience “pretty intense.”
The brief, issued to him by Toshiba Australia, Windows and Intel, was to create five artworks on a laptop during the time it takes to get from Japan to Sydney by plane. The artworks were on show Wednesday and Thursday nights in Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
“When I heard about this project I thought it was impossible, so why not try it,” he told Mashable Australia. “Being an artist, when you’re challenged, you become super excited.”
Generally, one of Matsuyama’s small painting could take two to three months to paint, while a large canvas could take half a year. But when his journey started in Tokyo, he had to let go of all his usual criteria and technique and get to work on a Toshiba notebook, he said.
Matsuyama’s a self taught artist, and when he’s given a new tool, he always tries to use it in the manner of a paint brush. “I didn’t want to just manipulate my artwork using this technology,” he said. “I wanted to use the Toshiba as a painting tool.”
To create the five pieces, he started by using the laptop’s camera to take photos on the street before he got on the plane in Tokyo. He then used the laptop’s Fresh Paint and Photoshop programs to add colour and effects.
The five artworks are in lineage with his existing body of work, Matsuyama said. One of the core motivations of his art is to explore global identity. Growing up in a very traditional part of Japan and then moving to Los Angeles as a child was an extreme culture shock, he said, and that clash has continued to inform his work. His art is about uniting the different strands of his life â blending traditional Asian art forms with the technology and pop culture he experiences daily in the U.S.
His interests have also expanded, and he’s now exploring how technology is shifting our identities to take on a more global outlook. He’s particularly interested in looking at the way our devices can let us live anywhere we want, anytime we want.
Using technology to create the work was also an unusual step, as Matsuyama’s work in the past has often looked computer generated when it is in fact hand painted. “I want it to look like that, but in fact my painting is quite classical … very delicate and layered.”
“It’s really about bridging opposites,” he said. “Looking computer generated, but actually classical, as well as uniting western and Asian themes.”
While he had to finish his food in about five minutes on the plane and then stay up while everyone around him slept, he’s pleased with the results. “It was really magic,” he said.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.