Call it innovative, entrepreneurial, creative, or any number of out-of-the-box descriptive words that come to mind. It's a new idea in town, one geared to keeping young talent here instead of having them leave.
Local artists/students/entrepreneurs Brett Lindstrom and Van Jazmin have started a business called Established Now that offers a broad range of visual media, social media and branding. Collaborating with entrepreneur, Austin Kowal, owner of Clothesline, the two businesses came together Saturday night to feature the paintings of local artist and Ringling student, Walter Matthews, in a pop-up gallery at 529 South Pineapple in Burns Court.
Matthews, a Fine Arts junior at Ringling College of Art + Design, is one of two students accepted into the prestigious New York Studio Residency Program for the spring of 2012. Established Now and Clothesline are helping promote Matthews work in order to help him raise funds to live in New York during the residency. “This type of collaboration is what Sarasota needs to be doing now,” says Jazmin.
Outside of the gallery, graffiti artists were putting the finishing touches on an exterior mural. The gallery was filled with interesting people and conversation, most of which was focused on finding ways to support Matthews for his residency. Matthews paintings are priced to sell and when I asked him why they were so reasonably priced (some as low as $150), he said, “Every penny I earn is going toward the $8,000 I need to live while I'm doing the residency this coming spring. I have priced my work so that it will sell quickly.”
Mathews first studied art in Eastsound, Wash., focusing on the fundamentals of Renaissance illusion. Those studies inspired him to enroll in Ringling College in 2008 where he is pursuing a fine arts degree. Since 2008 he has been featured in a group exhibition show at the Ken Mitchell Gallery, the Historical Society of Sarasota County and the Angelica Gallery in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"My work focuses of perception," Matthews said. "Painting for me is initiated by a visceral response to a situation. I invite the viewer through the window to walk about the space."
Most of his work is titled Study of a Figure or Stopping for Gas and it is those brief moments in time that draw you into Matthews' parallax.
Humble and unassuming would be a good description of Matthews. Engage him in a conversation and you will find a brilliant mind equal to his outstanding paintings. Matthews paintings are on display at The 529 Gallery for the next two weeks. Please call Jazmin at 941-536-3228 or Kowal at 941-366-5222 to schedule a time to view the work.