Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Artist of the Week

Matthew Curry

Graffiti turned art may be too simple of a statement, but Washington DC based artist Matthew Curry applies many of the elements of graffiti when creating his pieces. Graffiti is not simply about tagging, and having your name visible to the world. The end result of graffiti is an amazingly complex series of images layered upon one another to create a richness in both color and texture. It is as if each piece is a case study of a small fragement of a much larger mural on a bridge underpass or on the side of a train car.

Matthew Curry is a GRAMMY® Nominated designer, illustrator and painter that resides and works from his studio in the Washington DC area and is the principal of the design studio, Imagefed. In addition to his commercial work as an illustrator and designer, Matthew's personal artwork has been commissioned for use on magazine covers, limited edition products, snowboards, and can also be found on exhibit in numerous art and design related publications, galleries, and venues all over the world.

Recently, Matthew found some time while waiting out Hurricane Flossie in Hawaii, hours before his wedding day to answer my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): How would you describe your style of painting?
Matthew Curry (MC): Heavily layered landscapes with anatomical and figurative juxtapositions.

OA: Who are some of biggest influences artistically?
MC: As far as painters go, I gather a great deal of inspiration from El Greco, Milares, Botsford, Hokusai, Wyeth and Close.

OA: Your work tends to build upon the basic principles of graffiti. How did you first get into graffiti and what do you think of its increasing acceptance in the art community?
MC: I got into it in my early teens and continued studying it through college. I was always more into incorporating it into my work as part of the landscape, more so than actually writing. Some people might devote an exhaustive amount of time learning to paint trees or water, I was learning how to convincingly draw and paint throwies, letters and tags. I apply this discipline to my mark making and visual vernacular. I did some bombing along the way, but I really draw pictures of graffiti now more so than actually write it. As far as graffiti's growing acceptance in the art community, I think , is due in part to the art community being younger. Personally, I think the greats of graffiti in fine art are few and far between.

OA: In utilizing graffiti techniques your work tends to be layered and complex in design. Where do you typically begin and how long can it take to complete an average size piece?
MC: It never begins the same way. Most of the time I'll have several works going at once and I'll hit them up randomly. That's really where the graffiti aspects come into play, as the drawings can have been in play for several months and in some cases, years. So, in a way they mimic the layering that occurs on the walls and other surface areas of an urban environment. OA: How do you choose the colors for your pieces? Do you have a specific color palate that you utilize? Do you ever consider the emotional effects of color and how that might effect someone as they view your pieces?
MC: I try to keep my color palette relatively simple-but, I rarely plan it out. I am more aware of the colors role as an emotional tool when I'm doing my more simple and graphic drawings.

OA: What's next for Matthew Curry?
MC: I'm literally about 16 hours away from getting married. That's pretty much all I can think about right now, and it feels very good.

Bonus Questions:

OA: Coffee? If yes what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee place? MC: Any kind i can get my hands on.

OA: What type of music do you listen and who are some of your favorite artists?
MC: I like Dub. Some of my favorite bands are The Police, Steely Dan, Zeppelin, Main Source.

OA: Does their music ever affect your work in any way?
MC: Totally.

For more information on Matthew Curry please visit his website, and for the most recent images of his work visit his flickr page.

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