Matthew Larson


“Inspiration is not something I seek out. It’s a consequence of life”

AT: Where are you from and how/why you start engaging in art?

ML: I was born and raised in Michigan. I currently live and work in Brooklyn, New York. Visual art has always been my thing. I think I have always preferred to communicate in a more abstract way and enjoy the creative problem solving that goes along with it.


AT: When did it become serious?

ML: It became serious at art school. I was obsessed with the library as much as the studio. It made me want to live my life in a different way and being an artist was that way.


AT: Are there any person that have been significant in your progression as an artist?

ML: I think the most influential person to my progression as an artist was a teacher at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design named Clark Richert. He encouraged an open and experimental approach to art. It was a progressive program that made a real impact on the Denver art scene. I would probably be making very different and lesser work if it were not for him and that school.


AT: What’s your first approach to the work? Where does your process start?

ML: Most importantly I try not to force anything. My work comes from expanding upon small details of everyday life. I bring these ideas into the studio and try to puzzle them together in a way that I have not seen before.

AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?

ML: I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite tool other than my hands. My work is very hand labor intensive. I also tend to gravitate towards ‘low’ materials. Maybe it’s how I grew up, but I feel most comfortable and less pretense about working with materials that are cheap, mass-produced, and of little esteem.


AT: Do you leave your work open for interpretation? Or do you think the viewer should engage with your work in a specific way?

ML: The work is totally open for interpretation. I neither can nor want to control what other people think of it. The only thing I really strive for with the viewer is to not bore them.


AT: How do you feel while you are working? You think of the final result?

ML: Everything is planned out when I start work on something that is no longer a test or experiment. Although, as much as I know what the finished work should look like in my head, I also have to constantly check my work as I go. There have been plenty instances where one small mistake has wasted a lot of my time. Otherwise, it’s basically just sitting there and either filling up or removing a space until completion. It can be very monotonous and sometimes hard to start working but I actually find the manual work part very relaxing.


AT: How do you understand when a work is finished?

ML: This relates to the previous question as there is no ambiguity as to when a piece is finished or not. The work is finished when I complete the process, and with my work being so hand labor intensive, I really like that the ‘finished or not’ question is out of my hands. I just have to like the finished work and make sure nothing bothers me about the execution. Otherwise I will destroy it and start over.

Cuboid, bleached wool on velcro, 17 x 24 in | 43 x 61 cm, 2016
Yellow Oblique, bleached wool on velcro, 17 x 24 in | 43 x 61 cm, 2016

AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from? Do you find inspiration outside or it’s all inside you?

ML: Inspiration is not something I seek out. It’s a consequence of life. I don’t find inspiration inside of me at all, only certain nostalgic tendencies. For the most part it’s all outside, everywhere, all the time.


AT: Do you think art can be learned or it is something innate?

ML: I think art can be learned to an extent. Someone may be able to get ‘better’ at making art through instruction and practice, but may never have the capacity to become as original and true as an innate free thinker that has received no training. It comes down to the nature/nurture question and I think it’s best to have both. 11.


AT: There are any artists that influenced your works? Why?

ML: Sure, I’ll just give you a list of some from the past and present: Cornelia Parker, Rodney Graham, Tom Friedman, Sheila Hicks, Crispin Glover, William Pope.L, Bruce Nauman, James Lee Byars. I mention these people not because their work aesthetically resembles my own, but rather they influenced how I thought about art and what it could be.


AT: How important is for you the role of social media?

ML: Honestly, not that important. There is good and bad to it. It has the ability to increase your visibility and has resulted in some real world opportunities for me, but I mainly find it to be a distraction

Untitled, acrylic fiber on velcro, 30 x 33 in | 76 x 83 cm, 2015
Pyramid, wool on velcro, 10.5 x 12 in | 27 x 30 cm, 2012

AT: What’s your opinion about the contemporary art system nowadays from your point of view as an artist?

ML: I don’t think many artists would say that it’s great. There is a lot of recycling of the same names, but it has also become much more inclusive and easier for artists to take control of the narrative.


AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art?

ML: What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist? For me, instability, and the ups and downs that come with it is the hardest part. It’s also challenging in that it requires much more than just creativity. It also demands ambition, work ethic, business aptitude, patience, networking, and sometimes luck. The reward for me is the work and the satisfaction I get from pursuing something so nonsensical from concept to completion.


AT: What do you do outside of painting?

ML: Sleep.


AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?

ML: In the near future, I’d like to work on a much larger scale than I have thus far. As far as long-term goals, I am mainly focused on pushing my work further into the unknown. The rest will take care of itself.

Wolf Manbleached phorograph, 3.5 x 5 inches | 9 x 13 cm, 2018
Matthew Larson
Brooklyn, New York

Select Solo Exhibitions

1987    All Else The Sea,  Texas Georgia Dome,  Utah City, Nevada.

1897    Could My Dog Have A Bite Of Your Bagel?,  Jackie Onasis Blvd,  Mexico D.F.

1892    A Poor Man's Poor Man,  Tom's,  Maine.

1999    Sorry No Restroom,  American Apparel,  Placessss.

1866    My Big Fat Greek Asshole,  54-B District Court,  Santa Monica, TY.

1934    Darn It,  Dauerhaft Kunsthalle,  Hamburg DDDD.

2009    2009,  Floppy's,  Bozeman, Montana.

1919    Masterpiece (this is not),  all over the place.

2007    In Your Wake I Swim,  White Tub,  London.

1991    Smells like the 90's,  Dub Housing, Cleveland, OH.

2505    Kevin Costner's Pee Pee Salt,  Mount Lebanon Baptist Church,  Brooklyn, NY.

1863    Recent Paintings,  Salon des Refugees,  Paris.

1994    New Work,  New Museum,  New York.

1984    Do What Thou Wilt,  A Pure Forest Floor,  INDIA.

1951    In My Pants,  Denver Port Authority,  MXXIB.

2001    Horse Crimes,  Thieo's,  Lansing, Michigan.

2014    Shit House Rat,  Brick & Mortar,  Provo UTAHXXX.

9998 Joie De Toilette, DSW, Sheboygan.

2010    Hind Limb, No One Cares, Cinnabon (NJ Turnpike exit 116).

1906    Similar Photographs,  291 Gallery,  New York.

1943    Not Without Malady,  Undisclosed.

1345    Woven Placemats,  Cuyahoga County.

2014    Dutch Elm,  The Hauge,  South Holland, Netherlands.

2000    Pert Plus, Supercuts, Meridian Mall.

1709    Reseget Cineribus,  Fort Pontchartrain,  Detroit.

1809    Fiddler on a Hot Tin Roof,  Abrams Planetarium,  Venusss.

1987    A Knife To Cut Fruit,  Dayton Swim Club,  Dayton OH.

1951    Trends in Contemporary Thought And Problems That Demand A Solution,  Rome.

1950    Huevos Con Dios,  The Children's Place,  Dallas-Forth Worth.

1773    13 x 51 + 3,  Rib Of Indian,  Siam.
Select Bibliography

Yelp, "A Lawless Cloud of Smoke," Champagne Charlie, June 1908.

Picture Framing Quarterly,  "Listen To Your Inner Ear,"  Dugan Nash,  Decembruary 2009.

Revolutionary Youth Communist Newsletter,  "French Keno,"  Jesse Pimento,  May 1972.

Leaves of Grass,  "Rudy Giuliani's Teeth,"  Walt Whiltman,  July 1855.

Skymall,  "Barterilesss Dildozzzs,"  Guy Fieri,  never ever.

Parade,  "Drugs Not Rugs,"  Slobodan Milošević,  March 2006.

Hurrikan,  "Erstaunliche Auswirkungen von Holz olf Holz,"  Spego Tock,  September 2001.

Billboard Hot 100,  "Nobody,"  Keith Sweat,  August 1996.

October,  "November December,"  January February, March 2015.

Grains, Marbles, Butter, Etc.,  "Entonces...Entonces."  Piotr Cracovia,  March 1982.

Penthouse,  "Paradoxical Undressing,"  John C. Lodge,  February 1950.

Clarel,  "The Sober Cannibal,"  Herman Melville,  July 1951.

Wormwood Review,  "Crystal Blue Persuasion,"  Tommy James and the Shondells,  June 1969.

USA Today,  "Long Walk / Short Pier,"  Studs Terkel,  January 1965.