Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ken Matsumoto

Name: Ken Matsumoto

What do you do?
I do several things. As an artist/sculptor I make objects that reference nature and man or that reference nothing at all except things that appeal to me visually. These objects generally have no specific message.
I also operate an art gallery. This involves curating/installing exhibits and promoting the shows, maintaining the space, talking with artists and looking at their work, and talking with visitors about the work.

Where can we find your work?
Locally, you will find work at the ArtObjectGallery, Iwasawa Gallery, Los Gatos. Robert Allen Fine Arts, San Francisco. I also have public work placed at various locations in Santa Clara Valley (CPA @ Park and Almaden Aves, Japantown on Fifth street and numerous other site), Sacramento, CA (two locations), ASU Tempe, Arizona, UNC Pembroke, NC.

What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough?
Making things is what I do whether it be an object, a space, or an exhibit. In each case I am driven by my curiosity and vision. There are a couple of reasons I have chosen to do these things. 1. I have always been able to draw attention to myself and gain some amount of respect for what I do. 2. In the case of the gallery operation there is a sense of giving of oneself, of doing good for others that I find is good for the spirit. 

What do you think is more important content/finished product or technique/process? 
I have for some time considered the phrase “what you do and how you do it” as describing my philosophy on what makes a work “work.”  

Who are some people who influence and/or inspire you?
Jimi Yamaichi has been involved in laying the groundwork for the continuation of Japantown San Jose’s cultural and historical education for the next generation. He has fought discrimination and racism both as an individual and as a member of the Japanese American community.

If you could be any fictional character who would you be?
The main character in the movie “Brazil” but I’m afraid that I am more like Don Quixote.

When do you get your best ideas?
Usually when I’m awake but I have found ideas in my dreams.

What materials/tools do you use most to create your work?
Mostly stone and tools associated with cutting stone. I have devised machinery dedicated to the purpose of making/cutting stone in a particular fashion. I am also interested in flat glass, bronze, concrete,

Are you self taught or formally educated? How do you think that has influenced or affected your work?
I have a mfa in sculpture from sjsu (1983). It took years for me to leave school. It was there that I learned the importance of showing one’s work. Not for the need of selling or self-aggrandizement (altho that’s important as well) but for the information and response that may be available from the audience. This will either encourage or discourage; give courage for you to continue or not. At school there is an audience built in and people see your work and you feel like an artist but that's not really true because you are instead a student of the arts. Being an artist carries with it responsibilities that a student should be free of.

What would your creative work taste like?

When you are not creating what do you like to do?
Movies, hiking, bird watching, petting dogs, reading.

How did you learn to access your creative talents and gain the confidence to put it out there for everyone to experience?
The nuns in the catholic schools I attended took the work I did seriously. I gained confidence.

What advice would you give others just beginning their creative adventures?
Look at stuff, build a stable base of classic technique in drawing, focus, be fearless.


  1. Nice to see Ken featured, his work is amazing!

  2. Thanks! Ken for a great work. Your work shows your artistic level.