Matthew Sketch

You May Find Yourself
May 6, 2022
Matthew Sketch

Tell us a little about yourself and your current work. 

I promised to be vulnerable with my work in my application for artist in residence at UMOCA. I am trying my best to do that while still keeping a consistent message that will hold true and carry into future works. Finding beauty in trauma and creating a work that portrays that has been a heavy endeavor. Many of my recent pieces have targets or gunsights on them, indicative of the Black experience. Most poignantly for me, a message I took from Bell Hooks. The message that the thinking man is considered dangerous & subsequently targeted. As critical thinking Black men learn to reject institutional patriarchal-influenced morality, the more dangerous we are perceived to be-


How is your process and work integral to you, your environment, your community?

We are all created from energy and have experienced negative and positive vibes. We have received positive energy from loved ones and strangers alike and felt energized from the interaction. This series is the visual representation of the flow of energy from one’s self and the people and space around us. Our environment is a reflection of the energy we put out into the universe and with intentional focus we can transform not only our surroundings but the lives of others we meet along our journey.

What are you experimenting with in these new works? Is there symbolism or meaning behind certain aspects included in the new works?

For years I dealt with anxiety that kept me from wanting to leave my home. The media was constantly showing images of Black men being killed and this affected me greatly. If I could find a reason not to leave, I would take it and stay home. I think back on this and how it made me feel, like I was fading into the shadows of a world I still avidly wanted to be a part of. I realized that I was given one life to live. I would not live in fear and I was not going to fade away. These paintings are expressions of energy and determination, personal growth and a willingness to share painful experiences in hopes of moving forward from them a better person.

What is the significance of titling your work? Often the titles are really thought-provoking and bring a new context to the abstract works. Can you tell us about the meaning behind some of the titles in this exhibition?

I want to make art that sparks conversations about change. The titles are not descriptions of the piece, they are often a part of a thought which occurred during the painting. Titling my paintings can be a daunting task, it is the final step in my process. I usually listen to music and talk to my wife about what the piece means to me. The titles present themselves in conversation.


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