Pensacola, Florida
Monday December 17th 2018


Foo Foo Fest 2017: Full Circle Art

By Shelby Nalepa

As one of the most popular arts festivals in the region, Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival (GGAF) attracts thousands of art lovers to Seville Square to experience paintings, pottery, sculptures, jewelry and graphic design from over 200 prominent artists around the country.

Each year GGAF organizers also bring in a distinguished artist from another part of the globe to exhibit at the festival and speak about their art. This year’s Invited International Artist is Yume Matsuo, who is from Wakayama, Japan, the sister state of Florida.

Matsuo describes herself as a “circle painter” who creates intricate designs of circles and dots to make large colorful murals.

The artist left her job as a private English schoolteacher and translator between native teachers and students last year to pursue art full-time. Before that she had been living in Ireland to study English and traveling in Europe.

“I’d known that being an artist was what I needed in my life and what I wanted to do, but I didn’t make it come true for some reason,” she said. “Two years ago I realized that I was just wasting my life on what I didn’t want even though I knew what I wanted. So I decided to quit my job and pursue art full-time.”

Matsuo said that she’s loved painting since she was 5 years old, but started using this specific style of circle patterns about nine years ago.

“I use circles mainly in my art,” she said. “I get some inspirations from traditional arts such as Japanese Ukiyo-e, especially Hokusai’s Big wave.”

Ukiyo-e is a Japanese art genre that was popular in the 17th through 19th centuries depicting folk tales and subjects including beautiful women, actors, landscapes, flora and fauna. Matsuo has exhibited at several shows in Wakayama, as well as shows in Osaka, Tokyo and Berlin.

“There wasn’t a meaning to my work at first, but now I think I’ve found it,” Matsuo said. “Circles are the warmest and most peaceful shape I think. I never want to hurt someone by my art. I want people to receive warm feelings from my art. So I guess circle is the perfect shape for my style.”

Since her work has a lot of intricate detail, it usually takes her several hours to complete one piece.

“To finish a postcard-size work with pens, I need about eight hours,” she said. “I use pens and acrylics. Pens are for small detailed work and acrylics are mainly for murals and large work.”

This will be her first visit to the eastern U.S., as she has visited once when in San Francisco four years ago.

Matsuo said that her art can be therapeutic sometimes, but that the main reason for drawing is for fun.

“The world is full of hardship,” she said. “I want people to forget their worries and pains at least while enjoying my art. I want to reach world peace by making circles.”

On Nov. 1, she visited Pensacola State College to give a lecture on her art and techniques at the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts. Matsuo will be at her booth near the gazebo for all three days of GGAF in Seville Square.

WHAT: A three-day juried art show and festival
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 3-Sunday, Nov. 5
WHERE: Seville Square
COST: Free