We had the good fortune of connecting with Tamayo Muto and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tamayo, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I believe that I do my art throughout my life, but at the same time its form will be changing all the time. In my understanding, “art” is expressing. When I was a little child, I loved water painting and handcrafts. My teacher praised me and I already knew I was good at art. When I was in junior high school, I was committed to making Power Point at every presentation. I would even say it was my hobby. In high school, I got much interest in foreign culture, so I studied English a lot and tried to express myself in the form of speaking and writing. I decided to major in language and American culture in university, and when I was studying abroad in San Diego, I finally recognized myself as an artist. I did not have any actual experience in the art field nor any friends in San Diego at first, but I immersed myself in painting and photography, and I was welcomed by the art communities there astonishingly naturally. I was given a lot of opportunities at art shows, market events, appearing on media, and even a solo show at the end of my stay in the U.S. That’s when I noticed that art, expressing is what I naturally want to do and also I am good at. After I finished my study in San Diego and went back to Japan, I tried joining art shows at first, but I could not open my mind as well as I did in the U.S. I participated in some shows, did live-painting, and sold some paintings and goods in Japan, too, but I find myself comfortable studying and doing jobs in other fields, not specifically art, in my home country, Japan. That might sound a little bit sad for you, especially if you are an artist, but don’t worry. I’m sure I pursue my goal as an artist and this rather means I got more goals to reach in my life, and more ways to enrich my art. So my plan is, first, I pursue my career of reporting many problematic situations all over the world which I directly go and see, and tell people in my way of “expression”. Here you can see art, expression cannot go away from me, even when I’m not directly painting or creating something. At the same time, I do continue creating, which means mainly painting and photography, and my biggest goal is to establish myself as an artist in the U.S. I really want to paint big murals there! I’m a kind of person who gets interested in many things and tries anything, and luckily I have many choices to select as my career. I do not want to waste even one possibility, so I should sometimes look swaying to you guys. However, although what I do superficially might change all the time, what I essentially do is art. Through everyday’s learning from every person I meet in my life, I’m beginning to understand that my sheer duty is to express and change the world for a better way even a little. This is the reason why I pursue an artistic career.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What’s special about me is having a very flexible but also independent mind. As for flexibility, I do anything which I get interested in and learn from it. I study American literature, interpretation, journalism, intercultural communication, and even Mexican local language called “Tu’ un Savi”, etc. I have worked for NPO doing fact-checking, and interpretation class, transportation company, and Mexican restaurant, etc. Now I’m literally a student but I want to be a student forever, which means I learn forever after graduation, after I get a job, and even after I make some success. During the stay in the U.S., I learned directly from local art communities the most, even more than from university. I was always alone as a Japanese there but not lonely at all, because everyone welcomed me as long as I could remember. I know that should not have been the fact, some might have disliked me, but that’s the way of my thinking, which makes me keep on trying. I’m flexible so I do not refuse any opportunity, any place, nor any people basically, as long as I am safe. Open-mind would make myself a good person and create good art, I believe. At the same time, I have an independent mind. I dive into many worlds but I know my eventual duty and responsibility in my life. I visit many places, many people, many opportunities, and I go back to myself at the end. I am careful not to lose my way. I don’t have much skill, knowledge, nor ability yet but if you ask what is the key for my everyday’s growth, I would say it’s because of my mind.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
In San Diego, I will definitely take my friends to Barrio Logan and show indigenous Mexican art. If they are holding events such as Barrio Art Crawl, that would be great. We will go to eat tacos at Cafe Coyote in Old Town, listening to mariachi. My favorite place in San Diego is La Jolla, so I will take them there and take a walk, and show them the beautiful sunset on the shore. I will take them to galleries and also find works for a mural project. We go back to the downtown area, eat dinner at Buon Appetito in little Italy or eat Ramen at Underbelly. If we can eat more I will get ice cream at Salt and Straw. We walk along the sea, looking at the nice illumination of the ships there.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Mindful Murals @mindfulmurals Joi Cole @joicoleart Johnny Tran @johnnytranartmusic
Other: https://hallh.com/2019/09/hall-h-show-ep-81-tamayo-muto/ https://dustydawnart.com/theartistunmasked/tamayo-muto https://heartoffleshlit.com/issue-one/tamayo-muto/
Aspekt photography, Oscar Vomit, Angel Hernandez
Nominate someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.