One of New York City’s distinctive characteristics is its murals, which display the cultural breadth of the city and the diversity within its streets. One famous mural, done by Keeth Hering, was done on a 26-by-6 meter wall in 1982. In the years that followed, countless other famous artists have depicted their work on top of it. 

Now, the latest artist who was chosen to paint on top of the multilayered mural is Tomokazu Matsuyama, a rising Japanese contemporary artist who resides in Brooklyn. His two-storied mural reflects the cultural diversity of the city he calls his home, with arrays of cherry blossoms, birds, hipsters, and colorful, abstract patterns. After admiring such accomplished artists like Hering, his contribution to this famed wall was his opportunity to work for the prestige of these individuals. 

When creating his work, Matsuyama wanted to complete a painting with density, detail, and color. Here, he used his Japanese roots to create precise, detailed work while still instilling large-scale, abstract aspects. Because he believes that his role as an artist is to express our world through art, Matsuyama also desired to depict New York culture. 

Growing up in Japan before moving to the Big Apple, Matsuyama consistently shows artistic styles from his culture throughout all of this work. Yet, he still tries to deviate from the expectations his viewers have for him to create with entirely Japanese styles of art as a Japanese artist. Instead, Matsuyama wants to focus on the universal themes of human beings. 

Matsuyama first dabbled in art with graphic design, which he studied during his graduate school years. However, he had a change of heart thereafter, which prompted him to spring into a career as a painter at age 25. Because he began at a later age than many other artists, he worked tirelessly to put out his work and create a living. Matsuyama started to take advantage of his city’s walls and asked owners of these spaces if he could paint his work on it. This accumulated his fame and influence as a painter. 

For this up-and-coming artist, painting serves as not only self-satisfaction but also as a way to connect with his audience. Matsuyama, like other painters, wants to invoke emotion within the hearts of his viewers. From working as a graphic designer to flourishing as a painter, his goal of working to make his audience happy has never changed, and he hopes to continue working toward his aspirations in the future.