Matt Flint – Artist Interview & Studio Inspiration
Matt Flint’s website www.mattflint.com Matt’s Blog mattflintart.blogspot.com/ I first met Matt Flint in Rapid City, South Dakota at a Creative Capital Workshop, we were lucky enough to be the selected Wyoming artists to take part in the seminars. The first night, as a meet and greet, we showed our artwork to the workshop participants; I was blown away by Matt’s paintings. I was proud to be his Wyoming counterpart. It’s been amazing to see how successful Matt has been since then. Tell us a little about yourself! I live in Lander, WY at the foot of the Wind River Mountains. I grew up in a rural environment in Missouri surrounded by open fields and wooded hills. My perfect day would be to wake up, drink lots of coffee, play with my two girls, work in the studio, take the family on a hike, work in the studio, exercise, work in the studio, and have a nice family dinner (my wife is a chef) by the outdoor fire pit. How did you become an artist? As a boy I always felt creatively agitated, like there was something inside that need to get out. I always drew and made things. I decided to pursue art as a career my senior year in high school, due to the mentoring terrific art teacher, Catherine Vesce. What is your inspiration for your pieces? The mountains, isolated places, poems, boyhood memories, hikes, the promise of a new discovery, the desire to understand things around me. What do you create? Where do you get your inspiration for your paintings? My works are best known for their textural qualities and natural subjects. Images in my work are from the natural world; horses, birds, deer, all manner of plants, and landscape. I intermingle / obscure these more representational images with scratches, marks, glyphs, drips, etc. What has been the most effective way for you to promote your art? Whether it is word of mouth, email, or blogging I try to tell everyone I can about my work and what I do. I also try to get as much online exposure as possible through my web site, blog, links, free online art communities, etc. Through these simple (and cheap) methods I have been able to find representation, commissions, and exhibition opportunities. What is the most important thing you’d like people to know/understand about your work? That it is an encouragement to slow down. Much like the world around us, my paintings take a certain amount of time to “read.” The more you spend time with them the more they reveal themselves. What keeps you motivated? Like many artists, I am persistently optimistic. I know my best work is still to come. The excitement of "what if?" motivates me more than anything. How do you manage being an educator, Father and artist? Finding balance is extremely important and something that I have to work at. As a Professor, I am fortunate to have large chunks of time off to work (summer, winter break, and spring break.) A typical day during the school week is to take my daughter to school in the morning, teach until 5:00 pm, come home and spend time with my wife and girls, and hit the studio for a few hours around 8:30 pm. I also spend a lot of time on the weekends in the studio and with my family. What or who inspires you? A short list of Artists that inspire me are: Morandi, Turner, Hopper, Nathan Oliveria, Manuel Neri, Diebenkorn. Are you a full-time artist? I consider myself a full time artist and a full time educator. How does your creative process work? My creative process is quite open ended. I try to approach each painting in a different way, so that it does not get formulaic. I don’t want to know where I am going and I want to be surprised when I get there. No preliminary sketches are made; everything is wrestled with right on the canvas. The color, images, and overall compositional structure changes and evolves each time I work. When I finish a piece, which sometimes takes months, the resulting work reveals in a open way it’s history and the struggle of arriving at a cohesive piece. To me, this method of working best mimics the processes that happen in nature. Matt Thank you for sharing your insights. Matt, Mike Olson and I will be having a show at Funke Fired Arts late November of 2011. I applied to exhibit at Funke Fired Arts in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was lucky enough to get accepted, but I was offered an interesting proposal, to curate a show. I invited Matt Flint and Mike Olson to show with me. The three of us are working toward the theme of contextual geography, using the ideas of text texture and conjuring the landscape. It will a Wyoming show in Ohio!!