What got Matt into art was graffiti, which he practiced obsessively as a teenager. Today, he has left the street for the studio, where his media of choice are canvas, paper, acrylics and spray paint. You can take art out of the street, but can you take the street out of the artist? Clearly not, as Matt continues to enjoy painting murals outdoors and graffiti art remains a source of inspiration, in particular when it comes to textures and materiality. Painting murals is also about having a direct impact on local communities, which is certainly the case for his projects in New Brighton as part of a great local regeneration project run by Rockpoint leisure, and in the garden of one of London’s largest homeless hostels in Kings Cross (both can be seen here).
As shown in his painting above The double rainbow last night, Matt cleverly blends the chaotic and geometric. In the selection of paintings shown on the ArtULTRA website and Instagram, you can see how abstract forms subtly connect to known shapes, be they letters, cityscapes or horizons. These clever compositions and organisation of forms, with their bright blast of colour are really compelling.
Matt’s new frontier is to move from the flat 2D geometry to the world of ceramics – quite an exciting jump into 3D! Unfortunately, the course he was planning to take last year on ceramics has been put on hold due to Covid, but it is still on the cards. Looking forward to 2021, Matt is hoping for the opportunity to exhibit in order to get his work seen by more people in a physical space. In this, he echoes the sentiment of many artists and art lovers that I interviewed last year when developing ArtULTRA. We have been lucky to see more artworks exhibited online over the past twelve months, with prestigious collections going digital and contemporary artists posting on Instagram. But let’s face it, an encounter with a work of art off-screen provokes a different, deeper emotional response.
Let's be optimistic and hope that before 2021 is over we will be able to enjoy gallery visits once more and see more work by early career artists exhibited. In the meantime, enjoy the crop of artists on ArtULTRA!