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Madeline Carol Matz

Artist's Interview

How long have you been creating?
It is so clichéd, but I have been creating as long as I have been able to hold a crayon or a paintbrush. For all I know, I was finger-painting with my mashed peas before that. I checked out every art and craft book from the local library branch. I was forever up to my elbows in papier-mâché, yarn and crayons - no drinking straw, newspaper or paper plate was safe from my artistic ambitions.
What is your medium of choice?
Acrylics on hardboard for most of my fantasy works in color, oils on canvas or hardboard for portraits and ballpoint pen and pen and ink for black and white work. Sometimes I may do an artist's trading card in mixed media just to experiment a little.
What are your motivations for creating?
I have these ideas that pop in to my head. Some odd things twist themselves together when I drift off and free associate (I was recently diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) so drifting is what I do best!). Whether it is seeing an animal in anthropomorphic terms or visualizing a pun, once I think of one of these things, I have got to get it out of my head and on to canvas so that I can move on to the next idea. I hope that other folks will be tickled by these notions of mine and painting is the way that I get them out into the physical world.
What other artists and movements inform your work?
My father was a bibliophile of biblical proportions and I was surrounded with all sorts of wonderful illustrations and paintings from his books. One of my earliest forays through his bookcases found my small pre-school hands grasping a paperback-sized, leather-bound Modern Library volume of Aubrey Beardsley's work and a lovely, tiny, pink British edition of "Gorey's Alphabet". There were also plenty of comics around. Reprints of Will Eisner's "Spirit" and Winsor McCay's "Little Nemo in Slumberland" and "Tin-Tin"were as much a part of my childhood as Maurice Sendak, Norman Lindsey, Howard Pyle, W.W. Denslow and Tenniel. My father also had all these great history books with tons of pictures. Through them I saw paintings by Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Hans Holbein, the younger, David, Ingres, Vermeer and Goya - "Saturn Devouring one of his Sons" will stick with you when you haven't even figured out how to tie your shoes yet. Growing up in Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago was where I could have a tête-à-tête with actual paintings. They have a huge El Greco altarpiece and all those Impressionist paintings along with iconic paintings of the 20th century such as "Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper and "American Gothic" by Grant Wood and Ivan Albright's "A Picture of Dorian Gray". Chicago's architecture left a heavy mark on me, too. Later in my teens, I got hooked on Art Nouveau through Alphonse Mucha's posters, Art Deco design through Busby Berkeley, Tamara de Lempicka and old New Yorker cartoons, and also the Pre-Raphaelites. After I graduated college, I made my trip of a lifetime to London, England to visit all the museums there. I got all woozy in the Tate Gallery when I entered the Pre-Raphaelite Gallery. It was packed floor to ceiling with dazzling color and luminosity. That was only topped by seeing Da Vinci's "The Virgin of the Rocks" in person at The National Gallery.
What do you find stimulating right now? How does this influence your creative process?
I find television and movies very interesting now. There is so much possible with computers that directors now have almost no restraints when it comes to making their visions reality. I love the worlds that Joss Whedon creates! Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly have such deep character portrayals and storylines. Battlestar Galactica has a great mix of a high tech and antique aesthetic. Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam are a couple of the movie director whose work I admire. They each demonstrate unique worlds in their films. There's so much good film and television and I can get totally sucked into it. Books and radio inform me visually, too. As I read or listen I visualize what's going on in the book or radio show. It's always disappointing to see films based on books because they never match - except Brideshead Revisited. You could almost turn the pages of the book while watching that mini-series. Also, some interesting things pop up in my dreams. I have these ornate, Technicolor epics at night. Recently I had a musical going on with all original songs! I just wish I could remember it all after I wake up.
Read anything good lately?
I have just finished reading "A Death in Belmont" by Sebastian Junger, the author of "The Perfect Storm". It tells the true story of a murder that was committed in the comfortable suburb of Belmont, Massachusetts in 1963, where he lived and was just a toddler at the time. A black man who was cleaning for a woman in the neighborhood was convicted of the crime based on circumstantial evidence. Later, a workman, Albert De Salvo, who was building an artist's studio for Junger's mother at the same time the crime was committed, eventually confessed to being the Boston Strangler. But he didn't confess to the Belmont murder even though it displayed the same modus operandi. The book brought up many questions about racial attitudes and our justice system. Before that was "R is for Ricochet" by Sue Grafton. Yep, mysteries and crime, real or imagined, are always around my bed stand.
What are some of your artistic goals for the future?
To keep painting and keep learning more! I also want to push myself to more work in series. I haven't done many series because each painting usually captures the essence of my thought on the matter but I am going to try to get beyond that singularity in the future. There is always more than one perspective on everything. I also have ambitions of someday doing an illustrated book, either a children's book or graphic novel, but that is a long term goal.
What would you like your fellow EBSQ artists and collectors to know about you and or your work?
I usually research the heck out of every painting before I execute it. I go hunting for reference images. I sometimes have a couple dozen printouts on the clipboard next to me as I work. I also do many, many thumbnail sketches to work out the composition. I may think about a painting off and on for months, or even years, saving images, re-sketching and letting the idea percolate until it is as close as it can be to what I originally saw in my head. I put a great deal of thought into what I paint in between the initial inspiration and actually sitting down to begin painting.

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