Ryota Matsumoto is an abstract artist based in New York City, New York. His art can be described as “multi-dimensional, adaptable, and cross-cultural”. Learn more about Ryota in our interview below.
New York City Artist Ryota Matsumoto
What’s the main inspiration for your art?
My main inspiration is the morphogenesis of both living and non-living entities, the evolution of collective technological memory, and the inter-contextual network of hybrid objects. Overall, I am interested in incorporating underlying social, cultural, and technological agendas as visual commentaries to reflect the geopolitically morphological nature of the ever-evolving urban and ecological milieus.
What is the biggest goal you try to achieve with your art?
As far as the creative practice is concerned, I’d like to attain the transversal and multidisciplinary approach that breaks down the boundaries between heterogeneous domains of knowledge and the subject–group in visual semantic context. The transversal perspective might be required to maximize artists’ creative coefficients by unmooring their traditional roles. However, it could also dissolve the static mode of representation and reveal a path to more open-ended and divergent forms of cultural production.
What’s your favorite thing about being an abstract artist?
I often think that participating in abstract art or any creative field is tantamount to willfully taking the winding and bumpy road on the journey of self-exploration. On a positive note, the journey as a creative process turns into a work of art for the artist.
Why abstract art and not other mediums? Have you always created abstract art or did you start out creating other styles?
It’s important to note that abstract art is not a medium unto itself, but rather the mode of inscription that emphasizes the variegated nature of surface, texture, and smooth lines over the conventions of representational imagery. Abstract art allows one to make a cascade of inscriptions as the potentiality of virtual Ideas without being bound by the orthogonal constraints of figurative representation.
As for your second question, I have experimented with different modes of expression throughout my artistic journey, but I have found that abstract art most resonates with me. Abstract art allows one to explore the semantic boundaries of perception and representation as well as cross-fertilization between them in the framework of a broad sociobiological system that encapsulates the multiplicity of cultural, ecological, and technological agents.
What’s one thing people might not know about you and/or your art journey so far?
I have worked as an urban planner, video producer, architect, interior designer, lithographer, and journalist over the course of my career. Now, interestingly, I reverse this career path in some way and begin to take back different fields I was previously involved in as the knowledge base to broaden the scope of creative praxis as an artist.
Did you always know you’d be an artist or how has your art journey progressed?
I started out as an architect involved in urban planning and civic building design, even though I have an academic background in art history and lithography. After leaving the corporate firm where I was a senior architect, figuring out what I wanted to do took me almost a decade of uncertainty and reflection. Now, I am working as an academic and artist, teaching interdisciplinary design and visual arts. But, from time to time, I am still involved in some architectural projects. On reflection, my life is coming full circle at this moment in time.
In your opinion, what’s the most important personal characteristic needed to embark on a career as an artist?
Our propensity to believe we are not cut out for a 9-to-5 job from birth. It rather comes down to the nature–nurture debate at the end of a day.
What advice would you give up and coming abstract artists?
Always be open-minded to other creative fields, be it literature, music, or architecture.
Do you have any favourite podcasts or books that you love and that have contributed to your journey as an artist?
There are several favorite authors I keep coming back to throughout my artistic journey: Gilbert Simondon, Mark Fisher, William Burroughs, Fernand Braudel, Georges Bastille, Louis Althusser, Michel Serres, and Pierre Klossowski, to name a few.
What do you love most about abstract art?
Abstract art can transcend the visual axiomatic of materiality, physicality, and scale by reexamining object-agency as hybrid entities in creating and sustaining social ties. Therefore, critical thinking about abstract art is a creative effort to reexamine the preconceived notion of society as constituted exclusively of binary interactions. In that regard, I am always fascinated by the fact that abstract art is not just an individual expression pertaining to mimetic artifacts but is also influenced by and forms the sociocultural contexts in which it is experienced through the mutability of object-agency.
With abstract art, artists can transcend the capitalist axiomatic that sociocultural forces and semantic constructs engender or determine human interactions.
Society can be interpreted as short-lived, heterogeneous networks or associations of both human and nonhuman agents. Therefore, abstract art acknowledges and affirms object-agency and its critical role in mediating inter-object relations in society.
Do you have any favorite quotes?