The 2017 Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival gets underway this weekend at Seville Square in Historic Pensacola. One of the highlights of the annual event is the Invited International Artist.
This year’s special guest artist is Yume Matsuo.
Matsuo is from Wakayma, Japan, which is a sister state of Florida. She left the prefecture only briefly to go to college in Osaka and she lived in Ireland for a year and a half.
Matsuo has been a professional artist for just two years; before that she was an office worker and focused on her drawing mainly as a hobby.
Although she’s had no formal training, like most artists, she developed an early interest.
“I liked drawing since I was little, like five years old,” said Matsuo. “I thought I was going to be a Manga Comics artist, but when I went to Paris when I was twenty or something, I started to think that maybe not comic artist.”
Shifting away from comics, Matsuo started drawing other things and began painting, but she’s always leaned toward the abstract.
“I think I like more comic things, cartoon things, [rather] than realistic things. I’m no good at drawing realistic,” Matsuo said as she proclaimed that she doesn’t like to do what she doesn’t like to do. “For me drawing is the one of the most wonderful things in the world because on the paper you can do anything. For example, maybe cats can fly in the sky. So, I prefer to draw freely and then make unique things.”
Matsuo can’t trace her exact evolution as an artist, but says she liked creating on a small scale, using regular pens. Along the way, she transitioned to painting and her work took on a circular nature.
“I really don’t remember why I started to draw circle, but I think it is good,” said Matsuo, explaining that the shape of a circle is soft and peaceful, and without corners. “So, to express my feelings to people or the world, circle is the best shape for me, I think.”
To help us understand her philosophy on circles, she has wrote a poem, entitled I am a Circle Painter.
I am a circle painter.
Circle has no corner.
Circle has no end.
I believe, circle can get rid of corners in people's hearts and softens them.
Circle can lead the world to endless peace.
Human is bound to die.
It does not matter how much you love them or you're loved.
It does not matter how sorrowful it is or how hard you try to refuse it.
We are mortal.
Despite the fate, we are all having worries and pains from everyday life.
But we do not give up living.
The world is full of hardship.
I want people to forget their worries and pains at least while enjoying my art. It might be instant peace but I want to reach to world peace by making circles.
“So for me, life is so hard, but everybody is trying their hardest every day” said Matsuo, adding that people feel they have to do more or be better, but still they suffer from everyday hardships.
“I want to give people more peace by showing my artwork. Peace is very important for me because that is what people, and the world needs now.”
Matsuo attempts to bring a little peace to individuals who enjoy her art through what’s called Your Circle.
“I draw circles only for you,” she said, noting that she gets some ideas when she sees a person and two or three colors come to mind.
As an example, Matsuo chooses for me the colors orange and green, pairing them with my favorite color, blue. Then she uses the colors to make circles, just for you, on postcard-sized paper.
People attending the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival will be able to visit Matsuo’s booth near the Gazebo in Seville Square this weekend. The event is Friday and Saturday, Nov. 3 & 4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Also, Matsuo is scheduled to give a public talk beginning this Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 at the Anna Lamar Switzer Visual Arts Center at Pensacola State College.
She plans to discuss how hard she worked to become a professional artist, just two years ago.
“It’s unique that you are suddenly an artist after being a normal office worker. So, maybe I can introduce my history that I was normal people, but suddenly becoming an artist.
As to whether she faces a lot of pressure trying to earn a living as an artist, Matsuo says no, because she knew she wanted to be an artist.
Early on though, she didn’t trust herself.
Then she was ready to take the leap.
“I realized I was wasting my life on what I didn’t want to do. Now, I feel that I’m living my life.”