D2 Art is excited to showcase Matthew Heller in this month’s Meet the Artist series. Matthew has been an active member of the Los Angeles arts community for over 20 years, creating vast bodies of work that explores the human condition through the use of poignant textual narrative. We are a super fan of Matthew’s work and began working with him over 15 years ago. In our studio visit last week, we had the immense pleasure to learn about his artistic routines, rituals and methods as well as his approaches to emotionally engage with his audience. Matthew’s sharp and funny wit is refreshingly evident in his unique poetry which serves as the subject for his visual works. His words combined with the built layers of elements upon the canvas creates thoughtfully relevant and stunning pieces.
1. How do you choose the themes of your works?
I pretty much repeatedly explore the intricate details of the human emotional experience so tapping in to where I am emotionally is usually a good start.
2. What are your favorite media to express yourself?
I don’t consider myself a painter but acrylic paint due to practical reasons has been my predominant medium. For one, the toxicity of other materials doesn’t work for me as I have young children that spend a lot of time in my studio also my patience is short with drying paint so acrylic paint + hair blower keeps me sane.
3. What is your favorite piece of art?
4. What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
As far as a creative pattern I tend to be drawn towards making work that hides the fact that it is very labor intensive. Routines- work daily and take walks for coffee often during work. Rituals- I sometimes find myself cleaning dried paint from the rims of paint jars for no utilitarian purpose.
5. What are you trying to communicate with your art?
That being human is really complex and challenging but very special.
6. What do you think about the future of the art world – will the gallery system be sustainable?
The Art World does not include the world of art, it is more like a professional Art League and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.
7. What role does the artist have in society?
The artist is one of the pillars of the society I want to live in. Not the artist that is too carefree or the artist that is too much about business; I mean the artist that needs to add to the culture therefore expanding culture thus benefitting society.
8. What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Basically if I can make you cry, whether out of joy, pain or just an emotional reaction then I am doing what I set out to do. Specifically though, I have seen a few blogs commenting on my work being too pricey so they’d give instructions on how to make ones own Heller copy, this was very satisfying.
9. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
Yes. Not enough. Call me 555 5555.
10. What do you like about your work?
I like that it distinctly is mine, visually and in content.
11. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I was to busy not listening to remember good advice and now I feel like an ass.
12. Do you think that Trump as the new president will influence your work?
He’s hurting enough people that I won’t let him take away the positive
experiences I aim to share through my work…but since my work comes from the love and pain I feel within my own life experiences and since I am feeling a lot of pain for the people this president and his administration hurt, I have a lot of fuel to continue making work that I think emotionally engages people.