Mary Jo Matsumoto works across a variety of media including oil paint, ceramic, and bronze. Her practice’s sustained fascination with portraying women as well as flora and fauna finds its roots in Matsumoto’s 14 year career as a fashion designer, where she employed motifs of women, animals, ocean life, and mythology throughout her handbag and jewelry and clothing collections. 

Her realistic portraits seek to convey the inner world that she also addresses in her detailed ocean scenes. Using the technique of sgraffito, or scratching into layers of paint both wet and dry, Matsumoto reveals the aluminum substrate on which she paints her detailed ocean scenes. In doing so, she allows a flash of silver to show through the paint, evoking the play of sunlight on the water. 

This close attention to material meaning is present throughout her body of work, as in her choice to create tondos, whose round shape evokes the circularity of life force and the cyclical nature of pain and healing, as well as through the interplay between patina and polish on Hand of Circe, which lends the piece an air of ancient, yet enduring strength. 

When not making art, Matsumoto is the editor of FoxandBunny.net, where she conducts interviews with inspiring artists, curators, and collectors.