HUB Director's Art Award Ribbon PicHUB Director’s Art Award Recipient

Artist/s: Leah Matsumoto

Description: My body of work is about my daily current/previous feelings, especially fear. I invent new Japanese Yokai (a class of supernatural entitles and spirits in Japanese Folklore) that reflect those feelings, following traditional Japanese yokai that mainly appeared as art subjects in the Edo period (1603-1867) in Japan. In my work, I use yokai and human figures to visualize the fear while suggesting that those yokai: fear only exists in our minds.

I grew up surrounded by Japanese art since I spent most of my life in Japan, and I especially liked the cartoonish, unique look of Japanese prints from the Edo period. After taking a Japanese art history class at University, I learned that I’m also fascinated by the variety of the compositions those artists make within the similar size of papers. I decided to use that cartoonish/unique look of Japanese prints, believing that it allows me to depict my negative emotion while decreasing the amount of visual stress that viewers would experience when looking at the pieces. I also look for an effective way to describe the mental image while praying with my compositions by making contrasts in size, place, and colors within my watercolor papers with watercolor and gouache.

Making those paintings of my daily negative feelings helps me confront them, sublimate them, and eventually enjoy them, and I want my paintings to do the same to anyone who feels relatable.

Composition/materials: Watercolor and gouache on paper

Year: 2023