I have seen lots of Matt Wolcott‘s work on the 614 FB page but finally got a chance to meet him at the Cultural Arts Center during an opening reception (it was either Chad Cochran’s or Walter Herrmann’s…those brain cells have died!!) At that time, he was living north of Columbus(Toledo) and working his way back to our fair city. Fortunately, he has done just that and set himself up in a new to him studio at Millworks Art Studios so we decided to do an interview to welcome him back!
Matt began studying art at the University of Toledo where he majored in sculpture and had a really heavy dose of Italian renaissance art history classes. He transferred to OSU his sophomore year and changed disciplines to painting and drawing, graduating in 2004 from The Ohio State University with a BFA in painting and drawing.
At a rather low point in life he moved back to Toledo to be with family, friends and regroup. After having a relationship go south, he began coming down to Columbus for art shows and to catch up with some old faces. At that time, he had completely forgotten how much he loved our city (where he had his first solo show at Sean Christopher in May, 2013)and the art community. He had become a member of the Art and Artist of 614, and through a series of events and their first show at Tacocat, he had made some connections and his return to Columbus seemed set in stone. Everything finally lined up this past spring, and he was finally able to move back in May. It was a little rough starting out, but everyone I met has been super friendly and things are straightening themselves out. Currently he lives in Olde Town East and keeps studio at Millworks Art Studios on Leonard Avenue.
While he isn’t working only as an artist at the moment, that sure is a dream of his like so many others. Right now he works at Abercrombie & Fitch corporate headquarters as a contractor painting and fixing whatever they need painted and fixed. The hours are horrible m-f 3:30-midnight which means not much of a social life but it does, however, allow for him to work at the studio late night, which seems to be when he says he does his best work!
He began drawing at the age of 4 because…’its just something I’ve always done. Its like this need or compulsion, to get something out.’
At the moment, he doesn’t really have a name for his business although it was previously called Wolcott Painting: a combination of his commercial/residential painting and his artwork. However, he closed that down about a year ago but is looking to start up as an LLC once he does some more research and toys around with some names.
He’s been creating abstract oil paintings for the past 13 years, but its only been in the last four years that he’s been showing in galleries and trying to sell them. ‘There were definitely some art teeth that got cut during that time.!’
Matt puts it simply when asked what inspires him:
Everything. When I sit back an stare at my work I can see the two cars that were next me at the stop light in the morning, I can see bits and pieces of the graffiti around my neighborhood, I can see the paintings I looked at in the museum last week. I can see an entire day in my life on a canvas. I try to look at as much as I possibly can, images, building, book, movies, whatever….I’m always amazed at what creeps into the work.
He has been experimenting as of late and came up with a pretty cool technique he wanted to share. He started letting his sharpies dry out in order to create a gradient to their marks. He taps small holes on the caps and allow them to dry out and when they reach the desired value, he marks them with this dot system ( 1,2,3 for darkness) then tapes the hole. However, most of the time, he just burns them out by hand.
As I said before, he would love to be a “professional artist” although at the moment it seems a little impossible. He says he’s still pretty ‘green’ art world wise but like all things, he’s sure it’s a matter of time,effort, and education. Eventually, he would also like to return to grad school and pursue an MFA, possibly to teach or to take an arts administrator position. He has researched and found a program that combined an MFA studio core with graduate level business courses so he could get an MFA/MBA and thinks that is what he will pursue when the time comes.
Matt is represented both in Toledo (Hudson Gallery) and in Columbus (Marcia Evans Gallery). Speaking of which, he has a great show coming up in Toledo at the Hudson Gallery in February with fellow artist/ceramicist, Jan Thomas. He is really excited about this opportunity as he states that her work is phenomenal. She’ll be creating large figurative ceramic pieces and he’ll be working on the largest scale he has attempted to date. This show will run from February 5th -27th with the opening reception being on the 5th…stay tuned at a later date for details on that! And get yourself north this winter!!!
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