In Conversation with Brooklyn-based Painter and Collage Artist Lauren Matsumoto

Lauren Matsumoto is a Brooklyn-based painter who explores how we relate to the natural world through her hybrid form of painting, drawing, and collage. A painter since she was fourteen years old, she incorporates vintage ephemera into contemporary painting. She has exhibited her work widely in the United States, having participated in over 50 national exhibitions. She has also participated in many international exhibitions, including a solo show at Fabrik Gallery in Hong Kong, and group shows at the Art Complex Gallery in Tokyo and the United States Embassy in Oman. We interview the artist.

A: You combine painting, drawing and collage in your work. What is your key motivation in creating these artistic hybrids?
 I hunt through antique shops and estate sales to source vintage ephemera that I collage into mixed-media paintings. I recycle what we leave behind as a civilization, placing discarded images in a new context, repeatedly layering paint, texture and imagery in an eclectic, organic composition. My motivation is to metaphorically represent the continual cycle of life on Earth.

A: Are there any particularly memorable places that you have exhibited your art, nationally or internationally?
 I recently closed a solo exhibition at Fabrik Gallery in Hong Kong. It was especially enjoyable for me to present my paintings in Asia for the first time because I have long been influenced by Asian Art.

A: What are your main influences as an artist?
 Nature is my foremost inspiration. My work is a contemporary exploration of concepts similar to those of John Ruskin, the Pre-Raphaelites and 19th century botanical artists: celebrating nature through art. In our stressful Modern era, when more people live in urban environments (myself included), we can create balance by inviting nature into our homes. Plants and cut flowers are frequent guests in my Brooklyn loft, where I also maintain a small, well-loved terrace garden. I am happy when my paintings help add natural texture, color and movement to a home.

A: Your paintings include varied compositions of motifs from different cultures and eras – what draws you to eclecticism?
 For me, the eclecticism in my work is not merely a style choice, but a direct expression of my life experience. My ancestors were displaced Northern Europeans who settled in tropical Miami, Florida, where my grandfathers worked as craftsmen – one a carpenter and the other a bird breeder. Even though my heritage is Scandinavian, I married into a Japanese-Mexican family. I have lived in four countries and three languages are spoken in my home. The bright flatness of Scandinavian design is in my blood. Lines and patterning show the Japanese influence in my work. To add to the mix, when I lived in Mexico City I took a keen interest in Mexico’s rich cultural landscape. Now I collage my eclectic, international experience together in my studio in Brooklyn.

Discover more of Lauren Matsumoto’s work at

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1. Lauren Matsumoto, Anemone, 2015. Courtesy of the artist.
2. Lauren Matsumoto, What We Leave, 2015. Courtesy of the artist.