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Newsletter - June 2017

Kristopher Matheson

Self Portrait (Spring 2017)

Keep it simple (stupid)

Self Portrait (Spring 2017)



I hope I am not alone with this problem. I have a backlog of tasks I want to accomplish, problem is when I sit down to do the work I get bogged down in details and distractions, and end up making my process too complicated. I've given the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) advice to many people, however I tend to forget it when it comes to my own work, so this past week I've been trying to follow it. The Newsletter is the first project that I plan on keeping simple going forward.

Here is a short list of things I found interesting that I wanted to share with you.

  • Anything worth doing or wishing for will require struggle, hardship and pain - and just like negative outcomes - will help determine the quality of your life. Mark Manson turns the question “What do you want out of life?” on its head.
each medium or technique offers an appeal of its own.... One jumps in and, if lucky, finds ways to proceed.
— Jasper Johns
  • There's an allure to creating monotypes - destruction in creation. I've been attempting to create monotypes, the process distills down to this: you destroy what you created to create something new. The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article on Jasper Johns process of creating his monotypes.
  • Jon Wilkening got me to sit down with him for his podcast The Creative Bar - we discuss coffee, Scotch, photography, projects and process - give a listen and let us know what you think. 
  • In art you know what you like when you see it, just as you know when you detest something. Don't stop there,  now ask yourself "why?", you won't arrive at an answer with ease. Paul Klee suggested to analyze the most elementary components—line, form, and colour—to determine what makes an image successful or problematic.
  • When I visited my family in April, I made this bread with one change to the recipe: I used yeast that needed to be activated. The added time I had to wait for the yeast worked in my favour - rather than throwing everything into a bowl and making it quickly, this added step of waiting for the yeast to do its thing slowed me down and made me pay attention; something we all forget to do in our fast paced lives. And yes, it turned out perfectly
  • 10,000 hours of practice may make perfect, but it isn’t equal when it comes to creativity, which must be original, meaningful, and surprising. Fair warning: it’s a long read.
  • W. Eugene Smith made a lasting impact on photojournalism with his photo essays, here’s a look at Country Doctor, which helped to highlight the shortage of country doctors.
  • Rob Hudson is not your typical landscape photographer, he uses words and creates fiction in his photography series. This was one of the first of his series, Toward the Sun, that I came across.
  • A very short documentary about Ed Ruscha (roo-SHAY) who has had a very long career, “I hope people are inspired by Ed's very earnest approach to art-making and the reminder that ideas evolve and the best we can do is to follow our instincts and move with them.” — Felipe Lima (director)

That's it for this month, thanks for taking the time to read! If you enjoyed this Newsletter pass it along to someone else who might like it, or tell me what you thought.

If you'd like to have this Newsletter delivered to your inbox you can subscribe here.


Newsletter - May 2017

Kristopher Matheson


It's May, can you believe it? Hope everyone has been having a productive year so far — some of you probably made resolutions for the year, are you still on top of those? One of mine, the Postcard project, is still on going and I still have some great postcards left to share with you.


The main reason people give up on their ideas is they underestimate the effort gap: the time it will take to go from idea to fruition
— Scott Berkun
  • Inspiration, ideas or creativity, which is most important? Hint: the answer is none of the above. Berkun has a short series of tweets which might interest some of you to read. For those who want the answer, keep reading I'll address it at the end of this newsletter.
  • "Walking is an act of faith. Walking is, after all, interrupted falling. We see, we listen, we speak, and we trust that each step we take won’t be our last, but will lead us into a richer understanding of the self and the world.” A very interesting essay by Garnette Cadogan on the realities of being black in America.
  • "Walking is a luxury in the West. Very few people, particularly in cities, are obliged to do much of it at all. Cars, bicycles, buses, trams, and trains all beckon."
  • I was told to check out this Commute Project 2016, I really like the concept of taking the same photo day after day after day, which got me thinking. I've been commuting and walking the same streets, near where I work, for 10 years — you'd think it would get boring after a few months or after a year or two. Yet the streets still surprise me with new visuals, change and growth. Seeing the same area day in and day out is a large influence on my photography and creativity and actively looking at what is currently around you; far too many people don't do this enough, instead they are always thinking the great scenes to be photographed are on holiday destinations. If you can't take good photographs where you live, you won't have much luck while on vacation.
  • I'm always curious what other photographers look at for inspiration. Do they look at famous photos? Local Artists? Their own cities? Living in Japan I look at a number of photographs taken by Japanese (also Japanese), foreigners residing here and tourists, I find this blend helps me see things that I might miss or not recognize.

Artist Journal


"The artist of the future will merely point his finger and say it's art — and it will be art."

Marcel Duchamp


Inspiration, ideas or creativity, which is most important? 
Commitment is the answer. It's what everyone struggles with, it's what drags most people down, it's what kills all potential good ideas. Everyone is creative, everyone problem solves in their daily life (yes, that is creativity), and inspiration can come from virtually anything. I use an Idea Journal to track my ideas, most of them are not good, most of them are terrible, however some will get developed further than the initial scribbles, and very few will become projects. There are also one or two ideas that I know would be extremely hard to make to fruition (logistics, costs, support, etc). The ideas I develop into projects are important to me, like all things important they take time and effort. I struggle with how I spend my time, and have yet to learn or read or discover any "lifehack" that makes it easier — besides doing what needs to be done every day. Does it get easier to stay committed? Yes, but it's just as easy to backslide and lose all progress, so pick yourself up and start doing it all again every day.

Looking to add some art to your walls? Or a gift for a friend? I have a series of prints from a selection of some of my more popular images, along with experiments, and a few favourites of my own in small edition runs of 3 which you will enjoy.

That's it for this month, I am keeping this one a bit shorter — so thanks for taking the time to read. If you enjoyed this month's Newsletter the best way to support it is to pass it along to someone else who might like it. If you'd like to have this Newsletter delivered to your inbox you can sign up for that here.

Editions of Three

Kristopher Matheson

For the past two or three years I've been experimenting with abstractionism and the urban environment here in Tokyo — I've been living here for 10 years, half of that time I've had my camera. Having connected with photographers & artists who live in various corners of the globe has helped me immensely — their constant encouragement, questioning and criticism, I wouldn't be where I am now. It's been very rewarding know and hearing that others appreciate my work. I take photographs to share with people to illustrate how I see the world around me, and out of a strong desire to inspire others to look at their world in a different light.

With all this in mind, starting May 1 I'm launching Editions of Three, prints from a selection of some of my more popular images, along with experiments, and a few favourites of my own in small edition runs of 3. Over the course of the month I will be adding new images every couple of days, and when an image has sold out it will be replaced with a new image.


  • A4 (8.26 x 11.69 inches) Inkjet photo paper (signed & numbered on the back) — Limited to 3 prints
  • A3+ (13 x 19 inches) Fine art paper (signed & numbered on the front) — Limited to 3 prints
    Each photograph includes a border for framing

Note: Shipping is free on all prints.

Newsletter - April 2017

Kristopher Matheson


The past couple of weeks have been eventful, I took my second trip to Taiwan, and shortly after that I flew to Canada for a visit with family. So, for the next couple of Mondays I'll be sending out the next postcards on Instagram from Canada. 


In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.
— Rollo May

I've been told by various people that the process of making art is personal and each individual must discover their own process, so it came as a surprise to read about Paul Klee, who often provided his students students with a step-by-step approach to artistic expression.

There are a lot of movie remakes in recent years, one that I am looking forward to it IT — it remains to be seen if Bill Skarsgard (at an imposing 1.91m tall) can fill the shoes of Pennywise left behind by Tim Curry.

I enjoy seeing a beautiful sunset, and can be impressed by mountains (for the record Mt Fuji is more impressive from a couple of hundred kilometers away rather than close up), in general though landscape photography bores me — there are exceptions and this series by Valda Bailey is one.


I picked this book up while in Taipei, and had intended to bring it with me to Canada for something to look at on the plane ride from Tokyo — however I forgot to pack it. 

The response to my postcard sets (or 4x6 images) has been overwhelmingly great, thank you to everyone who has made a purchase. Since I am in Canada at the moment I will fulfil any orders that come in as soon as I get back to Tokyo on April 20 and send them over shortly after that. Sorry for the delay.

Night Scenes Volume 1
24.00 30.00
Add To Cart
Street Scenes Volume 1
24.00 30.00
Add To Cart

That's it for this month, I am keeping this one a bit shorter — so thanks for taking the time to read. If you enjoyed this month's Newsletter the best way to support it is to pass it along to someone else who might like it. If you'd like to have this Newsletter delivered to your inbox you can sign up for that here.