Behind the Campaign: Mahlon Sugawara

Mahlon Sugawara
The Tutamen campaign takes inspiration from The Royal Mint’s history of portraiture on coins, featuring creative personalities who embody modern Britain, including London based artist Mahlon Sugawara.

Mahlon Sugawara is a British artist living and studying in Glasgow. His practice engages with myth-making through sculpture and painting, weaving autobiographical details with a language of symbols developed from folkloric sources, through the lens of his Japanese-English heritage.

Sugawara’s work explores ideas of identity, storytelling and personal world-building, using a wide range of references, from Hokusai’s manga and underground comix, to T.S Eliot’s poetry and Italo Calvino’s short stories. His work, both in clay and on canvas, is graphic, whimsical and expressive, with an emphasis on symbols as carriers of private meaning.

Sugawara is currently studying sculpture at The Glasgow School of Art, after receiving a foundation diploma in Art and Design from Buckinghamshire New University.

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The new Tutamen jewellery range takes its name from the Latin inscription ‘Decus et Tutamen’ which first appeared on the edge of 17th century British coins, translating as ‘an ornament and a safeguard’.