The InterviewI cornered Matthew towards the end of his class time on a Saturday and took some pictures of the work that he’s working on. Matthew uses clay in his work but he considers himself a mix-media artist. “There are not many pieces that I’ve created that are done in all clay,” he says. I asked him how he got started in clay and he said that he actually went to college to study Computer Science. He changed his mind during his sophomore year in college because he didn’t want to have to deal with Math. His was going to change his major to Biology but got side tracked with a sculpting class. Matthew states that he’s never used the pottery wheel to create his work thus far. “I see the wheel as a tool, like a brush, I can use it if I need to but, up till now, I haven’t had the need to.”
The students in his class were quick to chime in with follow up questions about his work and inspiration. When asked, the students were all praise for Matthew. “He is a wealth of knowledge!” said one. “He is very generous and shares everything he knows,” said another. A class with Matthew could start with a question about underglazes to brushes and eventually lead into Biology.In his spare time, Matthew enjoys biking around the city and taking in the sights. He said, "So far, Chicago has been great. Everyone here at Lillstreet has been very welcoming and helpful."
Matthew received his BA in Studio Art in Ceramics with a minor in Art History from Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg PA and an MFA in Ceramics, with minors in Drawing and Metalsmithing from the University of Iowa.
I develop story lines stemming from the exploration of our relationships with ideas and imagery that are often overlooked, taken for granted, sometimes disturbing, and usually misunderstood. Within these stories, I approach and investigate the dull, banal, and the obvious aspects of everyday life with a new curiosity.The exploration of the self, the understanding of others, and the dynamics they create are an underlying theme throughout my work. Drawing from a fascination of biology, I create forms based on principles of nature coupled with the experience of thought and feeling. The works become combinations of the natural progression of life, such as growth and decomposition, and the human aspects of reason and ability. I am reacting to the way people think and feel about their identities, how the act of learning and the responsibility of knowledge affect our everyday lives.
I approach my work from the point of view of a story. Thinking of stories and books and how they elicit imagery, I incorporate illustration by means of a narrative series of sculpture. I have been utilizing the written word in the form of short stories and experimenting with bookbinding to add the element of the narrative to the pieces. The sculptures are made with the idea of a more visual approach to storytelling, while the actual writings, or sometimes drawings, are there to compliment the work and give further insight.
Artist in Residence ProgramLillstreet's resident artist program was established to benefit the Lillstreet student community, as well as the Artist in Residence. The residents in each of our 8 departments dedicate time to work with students outside of classes in order to enrich Lillstreet students' experience by seeing and learning from a working artist in their midst. The Artist-in-Residence Program also serves as a resource for our teachers by asking the Artist-in-Residence to assist from time to time with classes and demonstrations. This program is meant to help bolster the vitality of the student community and create relationships with the students. The main focus of this residency is for the artist to be an encouragement and resource for the Lillstreet student community as well as provide an opportunity for the artist to develop their work. At the end of their residency program, each artist will have the opportunity to showcase their body of work in a solo exhibition in the Lillstreet Gallery.
For more information on the residency program, please visit the Lillstreet website.