Happy Holidays to You & Yours

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Thank you so much for helping to make 2015 my most successful year as a professional artist. I’m am so grateful that I’m able to wake up every day and create art!  I look forward to your continued love and support – and wish you all the best for a fantastic New Year!

xoxo

Casey

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Everything has already been done…

Sit & Spin

Casey Matthews    “Sit & Spin”    (32″ Round)

One of the interesting things about having a public art studio is that I get to meet all sorts of people I would not normally interact with.  By nature, I am a bit shy with people I don’t know, so this can be a difficult platform. The past 13 years of maintaining an open studio has helped me come out of my shell as I search for  words to articulate my process, and create a balanced studio practice.  I often surprise myself and learn new things about myself as I describe the work to others.         Many years ago an elderly gentleman came into my studio and looked around at my work, completely flabbergasted – at both my prices and my style of work. (which is fine – you don’t have to like all art)  He asked what else I did – meaning: “You could not possibly make a living creating this crap – what other kind of job do you have?” But I ignored his implication, and laughed.  I superficially replied “…I make lots of messes, walk my dogs, and like to drive really fast.”     On the other end of the spectrum, I also meet people that completely freak out, gush over my work, and the fact that they actually get to meet me. Those people are the best!

I had someone come in my studio the other day and looked around – although a bit out of obligation (she was already up there looking in the other art studios) She was older retiree and a novice painter herself.  She prefers to paint lovely pastoral scenes in France, and local marsh scenes plein-air.   She looked curiously at a particular painting, then asked what my inspiration was.  I rattled off my stock answer… “I am very process driven, and I rely on mood, color, energy…”  I find this intuitive process more rewarding,  challenging, and full of endless possibilities –  rather than trying to recreate a particular subject matter on my terms…    I continued, “My work is non-objective and the titles are drawn from a running diary of words or phrases that I have written down over the years while reading or listening to an audio book, movie, music, current events/news, etc.  The painting is meaningless nonsense and it is paired with a title of equivalent absurdity.”   She then started rattling off more questions in an attempt to “understand” (for lack of a better word)   “Well, no – what artists are you inspired by?” I thought about it for a minute, then reverted back to my 20 year-old college self – stating “I guess I always admired the Abstract Expressionists  – they left the most imprint on me – because they were so energetic, intuitive, and process oriented – like Willem DeKooning, Cy Twombly, Joan Mitchell and Philip Guston (early work).  And while we are at it – I love Mark Rothko, Richard Diebenkorn, and Lee Krasner…The color of Henri Matisse, and humor of Norman Rockwell (I use to stare at his work for hours as a kid). And as far as contemporary artists go – I just drool over anything Cecily Brown does,  She is a real painters painter.  She is about my age, lives in NYC, and cranks out multiple paintings at once in her huge Union Square studio.  As far as I’m concerned – she a complete rock-star making it in the art world.”

“But your work does not look like any of those artists – I just don’t get it…”

I was a bit taken back by that comment.  My 40 year-old self does not aspire to paint like other people.  I realize I did not really invent what I do, and I don’t think I’m extremely special – but when I’m in the studio, it is just me and the surface. I’m drawn to the ambiguity of abstraction, and outright contradiction. I just try to create honest work that I am proud of, and keeps me out of trouble.  I am constantly learning and experimenting.   (Sometimes I am thankful that I live in my little creative vacuum and not surrounded by to many artists – so that their work does not creep into my subconscious.)  While it is nice to sell my work and is my ultimate objective – going to work is something I do out of an innate desire to stay grounded to the universe, and maintain mental balance.     I don’t really look to other artists (past or current) for my inspiration like I did when I was a young impressionable college student trying to find my style.  I mean, thanks to social media – we have enough copy-cat artists to contend with.  But they don’t fool anyone.  They just make me feel sad for them as they can’t seem to find their own voice.

I realize “everything has been done” but does that mean we should give up on ourselves and continue to copy or draw inspiration from the past (or present for that matter?) Or is this person just an idiot? I’m hoping it is the latter.  I’m a jaded bitter bitch about some most things – but I want to think there is still hope for the art world.

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On a different note – I just finished new batch of art.  Check out what is left on my website HERE

Here are a few of my favorites:

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Casey Matthews (2-36×24)

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Casey Matthews (2-30×24)

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Casey Matthews   “Power Surge”   (40×40)

 

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Small Paintings on Paper at Stellers Gallery

Stellers Gallery in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL has a bunch of my small paper paintings – just in time for the holidays.  These reasonably priced paintings are exclusively offered from Stellers Gallery – and are all the paper pieces I have remaining.  So go for it – treat yo self! Prices range from $225-$310, and they are happy to ship your purchase!  Pick out your favorite one before they are all gone.  Contact info HERE

Casey Matthews  . Small Paper Paintings  .  Stellers Gallery

Casey Matthews . Small Paper Paintings . Stellers Gallery

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Donating Artwork

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Casey Matthews “Containment Issues” (30×30) 2015

 

I recently donated THIS original painting to The Douglas Anderson Theater Department Boosters.  Douglas Anderson is an artsy magnet school (like FAME!) in Jacksonville, Florida.  The arts in schools enrich all human endeavors by bridging differences among people and teaching creative and critical thinking skills.  Apparently, these days, PE and band are considered electives in most public schools.  (No wonder the drop-out rate is so high!)  So if you like this painting and/or want to support art in schools (like I do!) this painting can be yours for only $1!  This painting is being raffled off instead put in their silent auction in an attempt to get more attention (and raise more money) outside of North East Florida.  You can buy a raffle ticket HERE, you can buy as many or a few as you like, and if you are not local it will be shipped to you free of charge – so go for it!

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I have had the best year of my career, and it has been amazing to be able to give back to a few worthwhile causes that are important to me.  Each year, I am inundated with requests to donate work for all sorts of causes/organizations, and unfortunately this year I have had to tell more people “no” than ever.  A few years ago, I decided that I really needed to have a clear mission/objective when donating artwork, and if the organization did not fall in a certain category – it was an easy “no” (which is easier said than done.) I have been put in an awkward situation (more than once) and could not articulate reasons why I did not think it was a good idea for to give a piece of work (not that I even need any) and I ended up fumbling my words and sounding like a complete ass-hole.  I now only donate to causes that are close to my heart, and/or are local – and I also put a monetary cap on the donations.  Once that is met, I’m done.  When I do donate something it is usually a new-ish painting that is representative of my current style. I normally donate work that is a decent size:  24×24 – 36×36, which is essentially $1000-$2000+ in value.  Why do I do that? I don’t know – I guess because my reputation is important to me (even if I do complain) – but if I give you some tiny painting then you won’t really make any money for your organization – and if I give you some older work, the painting might not sell, that would be fairly humiliating (no good deed goes unpunished.)  If I care enough to donate something I go all out.  More often than not, the people who are exposed to my work at these auctions – it is the only time they will ever see my work. Part of me wants to leave a good impression, while the other part of me realizes that it should not matter – because even if they proclaim to LOVE me/my work, they never seem to visit my studio, even for the casual monthly Art Walks.  Art auctions have bidders that are preconditioned to pay less than the fair market value  – and that does not do me any favors (or the galleries that represent me;) selling my work for much less than retail cheapens my business, and devalues my product.   Some people claim that “your donation, will be good exposure,” and “so many high-end collectors will be there” or “its a great form of advertising,” as it is displayed at their event; an event that you do not even get invited to.  Some people can even be so pushy or insulting when you say no – and those are the douche bags that ruin it for everyone.

So the purpose of this little vent is to help educate a little, so you know the philosophy behind donating artwork.  I have found that most artists are fairly generous, especially if you woo them throughout the year and let them how appreciative you are. Most artists love to have their ego stroked, and will respond to praise, year-long support, and thanks.  Remember, they are basically getting nothing from this – so try to sweeten the pot a little. If you ever want to request a donation from an artist, here are some suggestions to manipulate the situation to your benefit:

  1. Write your local State Representative and request a change in the current tax laws regarding donated artwork. Contrary to what most organizations believe, artists are not entitled to deduct a fair market value of the artwork they create and in turn donate. Most people who solicit art donations are unaware of this. Ask your friends, family members, and other people on the donation committee to do the same.  People have been trying to get these laws changed for years.  It is in your best interest to get them amended, so you will get more donations.
  2. Take the artist to lunch or coffee before you pick up the artwork. Artists like free stuff/food.  Pretend you are taking them on a date and you want to have sex later.  Except the “sex” is a $2000 painting.
  3. Take the time to explain your organization and cause.  Believe it or not, some private schools constantly ask for donations, but never really even state what the auction proceeds are specifically used for.  I mean, you are privately funded, can’t you just raise tuition to cover your needs?  Be specific.
  4. After your event, please provide the artist with an official thank you letter recognizing the art donation, the current market value, as well as the name of the purchaser, and final offering. Believe it or not, this is rarely given to the artist – if at all.  Artists like to know who their patrons are, so they can add them to their mailing list.
  5. Visit the artist in the studio or at an art opening at least once during the year to show support.  You will not be forced to buy anything – I promise. You can even help promote the artists events on social media throughout the year.  If you are nice and supportive to the artist, they will be nice to you in the long run.
  6.  Offer a free ticket(s) to your event, and be consistent about it.  Don’t offer tickets to your fancy gala a few years, then quit. You will quit getting art.
  7. Offer to split the proceeds with the artist. Or let the artist set the minimum bid and whatever the final offering is above that, you can keep.
  8. Publicly recognize the artist as a benefactor or patron throughout the year.
  9. Advertise or publicize the donated artwork on your website or social media prior to the auction, in order to garner support and attention.
  10. Consider asking for a donation in the spring or summer, even if your benefit is in the fall or winter.  Don’t ask too close to tax time, but don’t ask too late in the year when everyone else does.
  11. Don’t ask every year.  Artists can’t possibly donate to all the people/organizations that ask every year, and it is painful to have to say no all the time.  Space out your requests.

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Island Insider: Artist Casey Matthews

I’m an ambassador for Amelia Island – who knew (LOL). Check out this interview I gave for the local Amelia Island Visitors Council HERE

Casey Matthews (photo by Jessie Preza)

Casey Matthews (photo by Jessie Preza)

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Casey Matthews in First Coast Magazine – The Art of Buying Abstract Art

I had a photo shoot in my studio recently and HERE is the final product – an article for First Coast Magazine. It is about shopping for art – from the perspective of the artist, designer, and gallerist.  I have been fortunate that Stellers Gallery has placed a lot of my work, especially LARGE work this year,  And Julie Schulte, of Schulte Designs,  is a local designer that has placed a lot of my work in her homes/projects over the years as well. Basically I rock!

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Casey Matthews (photo by Jessie Preza http://www.jessiepreza.com)

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Casey Matthews (photo by Jessie Preza http://www.jessiepreza.com)

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Casey Matthews (photo by Jessie Preza http://www.jessiepreza.com)

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Artwork by Casey Matthews, Design by Schulte Interiors, Photo by Jessie Preza

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Artwork by Casey Matthews, Design by Schulte Interiors, Photo by Jessie Preza

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Save the Ta-tas and Featured Artist for October

This upcoming weekend I am the featured artist at the Blue Door Art Studios (October 10th).  We are open late every Second Saturday of the Month, 5-8PM.  I will be celebrating 13 years in my studio!

Also, if you have not heard – it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I will be  raffling off my favorite pink painting!  My wonderful friend, Kerry Itami, was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago, so this cause is especially dear to my heart.  Proceeds of the raffle will go toward breast cancer awareness in Kerry’s honor and help fund mammograms for women in need. Tickets/entries are only $1 each!

Casey Matthews

Casey Matthews “Bottle Brush” (40×30)

I have been a painting fool this year and in the past few week I have shipped or delivered new work to Stellers Gallery in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, Shain Gallery in Charlotte, NC, Addison Gallery in Delray Beach, FL, and Gallery Orange in New Orleans, LA.  Here are a few of my favorite paintings I just completed:

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Casey Matthews “We Dodged the Bullet” (60×60)

Casey Matthews

Casey Matthews “The End of an Era” (60×72)

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Casey Matthews “Drink the Kool Aid” (60×60)

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Casey Matthews “Soft Scene” (30×48)

It seems that whenever I discover a new art product, my style tends to shift. I love that growth and self discovery. When I look at artists who don’t seem to evolve very much over the years, I wonder if they are dead inside (is that too harsh?).  First it was Fluid Acrylics that changed my life, now it is India Inks and Acrylic Gouache. I have really been able to achieve such vibrant colors as well as super subtle, yet powerful transparent washes.  It’s time to match the sofa to the art folks!  I’m really loving my work right now.  It is a total ass pain to work horizontal all the time (I need more space!) but I’m dealing with it.  I have been so busy – I’m not taking any new commissions until 2016!

Casey Matthews in the Studio

Casey Matthews in the Studio

I love striped shirts!  I think I have about 12+ of them.  I think I wear a different one several times a week.  It’s so very French, Picasso, Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, Warhol-esque.  I channel my artist self, living in France on a sailing vacation overtime I wear one!

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