Matsuyama's work responds to his own bi-cultural experience of growing up between Japan and America by bringing together aspects of both Eastern and Western aesthetic systems.
One of Matsuyama's signature Horse rider series originated in a painting by court painter Kano Sanraku, Dog Chasing , from the first decades of the Edo period. Sanraku was adopted into the famed Kano School family after working for Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the unifier of Japan, and soon became leader of the movement. Matsuyama gave the work a unique spin by taking the riders from the original scene, and painted them in layers of hyper-colored stripes, splatters and drips, giving a nod to American action painters. As a result, the painting gives uniquely hybrid texture of nostalgia and contemporary themes. Additionally, a horse is a ubiquitous Macho icon in almost every Eastern and Western culture.
In August 2014, Matsuyama was selected for Harbour City Sculpture Project, which had Yayoi Kusama, Kaws, Yue Minjun and Florentijn Hofman in the past. The project included a 22-foot high, mirror-polished st ainless steel sculpture along with a light box installation that stretched nearly 100 feet across the main entrance of the complex.
Tomokazu Matsuyama is emblematic of today's diverse and global art world.