Anri Tsutsumi Solo Exhibition
El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe   |   June 2 - July 30, 2017
Opening Reception June 16, 5-7pm


Wasabi Salsa Rhapsody:
East Meets Southwest Meets Contemporary

Music As Paint, Paint As Music

It is no coincidence that Anri Tsutsumi chose the word "rhapsody" to describe the concept of her exhibition. Her vibrant and whimsical works are inspired by jazz, world music, rock n' roll, and classical genres — and she views her art in musical terms, as well. She refers to her paintings as "colorful cadenzas", a cadenza in musical parlance being an improvised or written-out ornamental passage played or sung by a soloist. In her case, her brush and paints serve as her musical instruments and her voice. Viewers will notice that many of her paintings are littered with musical notes and, in fact, Tsutsumi explains that each piece she paints is associated with a unique tune or melody in her head.


A bento box kaleidoscope of color, Tsutsumi's work is a joyful jumble of Eastern and Western influences — indeed, a Wasabi Salsa. Raised in Tokyo, Japan, and residing in the US for much of her adult life, it was only upon settling in the desert Southwest, and Santa Fe specifically, that she felt she had truly come home - both to herself and the marvelous beauty and culture of Santa Fe. Over time, the two defining cultures in her life have melded together to inspire a unique, riotous and rollicking group of contemporary offerings.

As she puts it, "I consider myself a hybrid of East and West. I am a happy mixture of Tokyo funk-and-groove, and New Mexico green chile-picante-salsa-vibes!"

Inspiration and Intuition

Deeply tuned to the natural world around her, Tsutsumi's antennae instinctively pull in visual, olfactory, and auditory information and translate it into fantastical, radiant creations on canvas.

"I'm grateful that the world is full of inspiration, as I feel like I will never run out of ideas for new painting projects," she says. "The music and poetry of everyday life inspires my work."

Some examples of her inspiration are musical melodies, a piece of conversation, the chatter of children, cinematography, fairy tales, literature, the smell and taste of eclectic food, fresh colors and interesting shapes from nature, the stunning Southwest landscape, zoology, and biology.

The Anri Tsutsumi Studio Facebook Page reveals a smattering of photographic images that allow followers to see the world through her artists' eyes. Everything from tar-filled cracks in cement, and underwater bubbles, to a close up view of knobs and levers on a fire truck serve as inspiration for her contemporary creations.

Creation Method

After deciding the theme and color scheme of a painting, Tsutsumi adds and subtracts various elements from the canvas until the overall direction and feeling of the piece emerges (all while listening to her favorite music, of course!). Her approach to the creative process is quite intuitive and spontaneous. She revels in using bright colors and high contrast in her work, as well as visual contradictions, like organic vs geometric, or simple vs complicated.

According to Tsutsumi the interaction between herself and the painting "often feels like the back and forth of a jazz improvisation." Her paintings are "visual poetry and optical music - playful, uplifting, and whimsical."

The happy result of a colorful bi-cultural journey of discovery to her true self and true home, Anri Tsutsumi's art is unabashedly contemporary - and she loves it that way.

Wasabi Salsa Rhapsody:
Artist Statement

Welcome to Anri's world - Wasabi Salsa Rhapsody! It's a world where you can find Tokyo Wasabi Funk Groove and Santa Fe Salsa Muy Picante sidling up along side each other with sly glances.

Enjoy getting lost in the intersection of dream and fairy tale. Explore Nowhere Land and Anywhere Land. Let the kaleidoscopic landscapes make you giggle and the cityscapes make you danceā€¦or at least tap your toes a little bit!

Like many, I searched for my true identity for a long time. After wandering along many detours and roundabouts, I finally discovered a path that led me home to myself - and to Santa Fe. For me, this town is a place of dancing desert and singing sky, a land full of magic and mystical music. Santa Fe is truly an enchanting enigma. I gratefully inhale the beautiful energy of the land, the air, the sunshine, the moonlight and transfer it to my art.

My works are colorful cadenzas* that I create with my brushes instead of musical instruments. I see them as a fun mixture of radiant, musical confetti scattered in the wind, made with snippets of laughter and emanating from my joy of being a contemporary painter living in the desert Southwest.

You may notice that my paintings are a strange and unique mixture of East and West, yin and yang, geometric and organic, past and future, nostalgia and euphoria. They are a harmonious blend of all of the unique aspects of my experience. I hope you enjoy every single piece of this amusing rhapsody!

*In music, a cadenza (from Italian: cadenza [ka'dɛntsa], meaning cadence; plural, cadenze [ka'dɛntse]) is, generically, an improvised or written-out ornamental passage played or sung by a soloist or soloists, usually in a "free" rhythmic style, and often allowing for virtuosic display.

For more information about Anri Tstutsumi, visit the artist's Website