CSA co-founder Ann Simmons recently had the opportunity to ask Summer share artist Riki Matsuda a few questions. If you’ve been to Artist & Craftsman Supply on Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston within the past few months, you’ve probably met her. If you haven’t been so lucky, read on to learn a little more about her and her work.

AS: How would you describe your work in 3 words?

RM: subtle, peculiar, & unfixed

AS: How did you find your style and how has it changed over time?

RM: I found my style when a friend visiting my messy studio, picked up a piece and said, ‘This is you.’ After that I saw my style as a series of unconscious decisions that only I would make. I don’t worry about it too much because it effortlessly follows and adjusts as I change.

AS: You were born and raised in Charlotte, NC, and then studied in Ohio before moving to Charleston in 2014. What brought you here?

RM: After my mother joined my sister in Charleston, it slowly became the place I’d visit to be with them. Even though the weather is drastically different from Ohio, I feel very comfortable whenever I’m close to family.

AS: Books play a major role in your work – from providing inspiration to actual images and text being cut out and added to a piece. What was the last great book you read?

RM: Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami.

AS: Where will your artwork be one day? Who are you creating for?

RM: I imagine and hope that my work will hang in the living rooms, bedrooms, and hallways of people who can’t get enough of them.

AS: What do you hope viewers take away from your art?

RM: A twinkle in their eye or a muffled laugh is more than enough.

AS: We know that there’s at least one other artist in your family - your sister Hirona who participated in CSA’s 2014 Winter season. Are there other artists in your family? If yes, how have they influenced you as an artist?

RM: Hirona and I are the most similar types of artist, but my entire family is made up of imaginative thinkers who are ceaselessly witty and talented. My art is only a combination of what they have shared with me and what I have gathered on my own.


Riki (L) and her sister Hirona (R) before Hirona’s studio visit for CSA in 2014.

AS: What is the most indispensable item(s) in your studio?

RM: When my work becomes muddled or lost, I always turn to my photo albums.

AS: What has been the greatest joy for you as an artist?

RM: The best thing I’ve experienced comes from a quick word in passing or a warm smile of acknowledgment from the people I highly respect and admire.

AS: Outside of creating art, what do you love to do?

RM: Lift heavy things, pop my own popcorn, and sing along.


Riki Matsuda is one of the 2015 Summer season artists.