“I think things are getting better; western society seems more aware of the damage we have caused to the planet, more aware of how homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic and racist it is.”
Artist, Painter, Sculptor and Aquascaper
Who are you? What do you do?
Well, I am a 22 year old artist and I create abstract paintings and sculptures. I’m trying to make work that focuses on the core enjoyment of looking, and my subjects revel in that. My work comes from my imagination and reference to artistic inspirations and other interests. I don’t really directly refer to something in front of me as I prefer to use my minds eye. My work is a projection of images in my head that I form into surfaces and objects. Over the past year or so, I have unearthed an obsession in aquariums, aquascaping and their online subcultures. I am fascinated in the human interaction with aquatic life, especially within the domestic setting of an aquarium. By merging aquascaping and art I want to express this emotional and poetic response and conversely the godlike control that both inspire.
Where are you from?
Leytonstone, North East London, but I now live in Glasgow, Scotland.
Your style in 3 words?
Instilling Chromophilic Urges
Your weakness? Your strength?
I have many ideas, I make most of them happen and I don’t know what to do with the result.
What makes you different?
I am 6’7”
When did you decide to become an artist?
When I was 12 and in art class at the end of a long school day. I had painted, like everyone else in the class, the anatomy of a skinned human in acrylic paint on sugar paper and my teacher said to me “that’s really good, Matt”. Before this I wanted to be a musician, a drummer to be precise. I was imagining myself playing huge venues before I was 20, which is quite ridiculous. I still love drumming but it’s definitely secondary to my art.
What do you find most fascinating about the creative process?
The creative process in relation to my work … I think it’s quite hard to admit what I find fascinating about it because, you know, you gotta be modest about this stuff! But, it’s probably when I see an idea come together, when something that you thought was just an image in your minds eye is there in front of you and the achievement is overwhelming.
A few words about your favourite creation?
Triptych, a sculpture consisting of three water filled boxes with a long red 3D oval passing through them, perhaps trapped. It’s special to me because, looking back on it, it’s the most ambitious piece I’ve ever made. I took a massive jump from instinctive painting to meticulously planned sculpture, well, the idea for the sculpture was instinctive, but the physical process was incredibly complicated. It also says the most of what I’m trying to say with the aquascaping project, about me and my position in the world as an artist.
Someone else’s work that inspired or inspires you…
Jesus Rafael Soto, Anish Kapoor, Barbara Hepworth, Cecile B Evans and George Farmer aka The Aquascaper.
A new project coming up or an idea you want to work on?
My work has to this date been completely indoors, i want to make sculptures that float on the still seas of the Isle of Arran, a glass box that suspends water above the surface and gives aquatic organisms a window into the terrestrial dimension.
Finish the sentence „More important than my career is…“
My family, my girlfriend, my friends, and my fish tanks.
2018: Where are we going?
2017 was a disgusting year, it made me feel so detached. I am guilty of not paying as much attention to the news ever since the two big fuck ups in the UK and USA, so I can’t give a definitive answer. But I think things are getting better; western society seems more aware of the damage we have caused to the planet, more aware of how homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic and racist it is. It’s good to see media paying attention to themselves being more politically correct, although probably for financial gain it’s always good to decrease offence and disrespect. But this is a really difficult question to answer, and, really, who am I to even know where we are going?
When the going gets tough…
I watch YouTube aquascaping videos.
Your city’s favourite spots?
My favorite gallery has got to be The Modern Institute, they always put up artists with the most sublime looking work. I love getting a drink or coffee in mono and I’ve got to say the best nights out I’ve had have been in the African Arts Center, held by TLC. My favorite aquarium shop is M&R Dogfish because they have a really interesting history and are incredibly helpful, also my initials are in the title.
Do you have a vision?
RIMMER AT TATE MODERN
What would you do if you could change the World?
I would ban all small children’s plastic aquariums overcrowded with fish, that have no biological filtration whatsoever, and are destined for failure and death.
Tell us about your future plans…
I’ve just moved into a new studio space in Glasgow that needs a lot of work, but I think it has a lot of potential. So will be working on that, and I also have an exhibition coming up in March at the RSA in Edinburgh which I am preparing for in the upcoming months.
Last but not least: what is your favourite Song?
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