Senior showcases her artwork surrounding ‘connection to animals’ in IB art exhibition

Abby Lincks, Editor

Mahiro Matsumoto:

I was so lost on what my themes were and I didn’t know what I was doing,” Matsumoto said. “I took a break by stepping away at one point, and refreshed my view to ask myself ‘What is my value?’ and ‘What is it I want to communicate as an artist?’ and the final exhibition turned out better than I ever expected it to be.”

Matsumoto’s theme was “Connection to Animals,” initiated with her personal connection to her companion dog, Bae, which she adopted during quarantine. 

“Portrait of my dog in pencil,” is one of Matsumoto’s favorite pieces. In this, she depicts her individual perception of Bae and attempts to construct a deeper understanding of her as an individual. 

Matsumoto poses next to her watercolor tiger piece, inspired by “The Angel’s Share” by Heidi Taillefer. (Abby Lincks)

“This sketch allowed me to refresh my understanding on my dog’s proportions, as well as realizing the different tones of artwork she gives with different facial expressions and posture,” Matsumoto said. “[This] helped my understanding and contributed to improve further artworks about my dog.” 

Throughout the exhibition, there are many pieces surrounding Bae from Matsumoto’s sketch of Bae, another one using oil pastels and a portrait with acrylic paint of Matsumoto herself alongside Bae. 

“You could definitely see my development throughout the series of portraits of my dog in different medias,” Matsumoto said. 

Transitioning from her companion dog to a deeper, internal connection with animals through her Japanese cultural background, Matsumoto created ““華虎” – a watercolor tiger piece. The tiger is filled with flowers to express the individuality of animals, drawing inspiration from “The Angel’s Share” by Heidi Taillefer. 

“I usually never do water color media, and I favor ink pens,” Matsumoto said. “I never thought of combining these two medias together, but it turned out very nice with two different medias drawing contrast to each line and color elements.”

During the exhibition, Matsumoto’s pieces were showcased amidst low lighting and hanging tapestries, emulating a dynamic, artsy environment, where just before the exhibition, she was still pondering her main message. 

“I was not seeing a clear vision of my exhibit until the very last minute, and I do feel like thinking ahead of time would have helped,” Matsumoto said. “At the same time, I also feel that, as an artist, we should always be growing our artistic sense and creativity, thus what has turned out as an outcome is always the perfect art.”

When the exhibition was open, though the artwork was on full display, Matsumoto’s inspiration, artistic process, and mind was just as centered. And in this, her experience upon people viewing her art was forever changed. 

“I have never even thought about other people seeing and enjoying my artwork, but I was surprised some people really liked the exhibition,” Matsumoto said. “I never expected other people to enjoy my art that they would take pictures of them, but many people did, and it was my first time experiencing how it feels to entertain people and make smiles through my artworks.”