Regular visitors to and residents of Sanibel Island would have seen Ikki Matsumoto’s distinctive art in numerous island and other Southwest Florida venues. He was known for stylized portrayals of birds, sealife and semi-tropical landscapes reflective of the nature on his beloved Sanibel Island. His art decorated posters and apparel offered at such respected arts organizations as Sanibel’s BIG Arts and Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers. He was also known for a joyous and generaous spirit, donating numerous examples of his art to community fund-raisers.
Born in Tokyo as the second of seven children of an accomplished Japanese artist father, he studied art at the Art Acadeny of Cincinnati, Ohio, where he met his future wife, Polly. The two moved to Sanibel in 1975, where they owned an art galleries featuring his work and Polly’s fiber art.
“Ikki’s work had incomparable charm and lightness, always with a sense of delight at the subjects he portrayed”, said William Waites, who had a tribal art gallery with his wife in the same Sanibel plaza as one of the Ikki and Polly’s galleries. “His visits to our shop were bright spots in our days, always accompanied by a smile and sparkle that epitomized his artistic vision.”
Eventually, the family moved to Ohio, but their sojourn into snow and cold brought them back to Southwest Florida, where the purchased a house in rural Buckingham. Sadly, Ikki’s eyes began to fail, much to the concern of those who loved him and his work. Then, in 2013 he was diagnosed with cancer of the liver. Attempts to reverse the progress of the illnes proved fruitless and Ikki said goodbye to us on December 31, 2031.
Among is accomplishments were illustrations for the famous Joy of Cooking cook book, an Easter egg commissioned for the White House by Nancy Reagan and whimsical line drawings for children’s books. He will be missed.