Mary Jo Matsumoto works across a variety of media including oil paint, drawings, ceramic, and bronze. Her practice finds its roots in Matsumoto’s 14 year career as a fashion designer, where she employed motifs of animals, ocean life, and mythology throughout her handbag and jewelry and clothing collections. 

Her realistic portraits seek to convey the inner world that she also addresses in her ocean paintings. Matsumoto uses the technique of sgraffito, or scratching into layers of paint both wet and dry, to reveal the aluminum substrate on which she paints her detailed ocean scenes. In doing so, she allows a flash of silver to show through the paint and highlights the play of sunlight on the water. 

This close attention to material meaning is present throughout her body of work, as in her choice to create tondos, whose round shape evokes the circularity of life force and the cyclical nature of pain and healing, as well as through the interplay between patina and polish on Hand of Circe, which lends the piece an air of ancient, yet enduring strength. 

When not making art, Matsumoto is the editor of FoxandBunny.net, where she conducts interviews with inspiring artists, curators, and collectors. She lives and works in Laguna Niguel, California.







2020-2021 Studied with Joshua La Rock

2018-2020 Art Students League of New York 

2018-2020 Studied with Jennifer Gennari 

2017-2018 Angel Academy of Art, Florence, Italy 

2015 Art Students League NYC 

New York University, MFA Tisch School of the Arts

University of California Berkeley, Double BA with highest honors.



2022 The de Young Museum in San Francisco, Pictures of People group show in tandem with Alice Neel, People Come First exhibition. 

2022 California Inclined: Robert Graham, Larry Cohen, Don Bachardy, Mary Jo Matsumoto, Holly Williams at DANIEL MOSHI gallery, Los Angeles, California



2022 PANDEMIC at Sol Art Gallery, Dublin, Ireland.

2021 Arts to Hearts Project, Gaze, International Exhibition with 30 Women Artists

2019 Art Students League of New York, Group Bronze Show

2015 Art Students League of New York, Group Bronze Show

2015 Art Students League of New York, Group Drawing Show.

2014 Luhring Augustine, NYC, Visual Aids Post Cards From the Edge, “Woman in an Alexander McQueen Scarf”. 



2019 Red Dot Winner (Best in Show), Art Students League of New York, Group Bronze Show

2015 Blue Dot Winner, Art Students League of New York, Group Bronze Show




Arts to Hearts Project GAZE exhibition catalogue 

LINEA The Artist’s Voice  

Georgette Magazine