Though it’s been a rocky road, one welcome development in Matthews’s practice is that he’s much more forgiving of himself than when he started. “I used to be so hard on myself to get something perfect and sought approval outside of myself,” he says. Any artist green behind the ears is probably a little predisposed to harsh self-criticism. More so if you’re self-taught, which Matthew is. “I have always been self-taught in the sense that MySpace, Tumblr, YouTube, exploration, Polaroids, the thrift store, movies, and life was/is my teacher,” he says. But as his creative career unfolded, he started to see his work as “something that will be solved and I’m just along for the ride and don’t really need to know how I’ll end up from Point A to Point B” .He continues: “Now when I create it’s truly a joyous puzzle”.
When asked what work he’s most proud of, he resolutely states that it’s his collaboration with the online platform Future Earth and re-wilding advocates Make Meadows. He lists his screen print designs for Future Earth x IE Earth Sessions event as a recent favorite, and he tells us that it was just “me behind my computer listening to my favorite music and making things that fit the vibe” – the vibe being the brief of “The Future is Intersectional”. It’s the dual appeal of learning as well as educating that keeps Matthew interested. “It’s really an honor to simultaneously learn about how to do my part and impart that knowledge to others,” he says. While he’s serious about protecting the earth, Matthew gives us an important reminder. “Art is cathartic, creation doesn’t have to be some life-changing experience. Create because you want to. Create for you because you want to and because it allows you to connect to yourself and feel something.”