Matt Brown is an American artist creating highly dense, textural and macabre paintings, drawings and sculptures – Dark, chaotic, moody landscapes populated with ghastly spirits and haunting human-esque creatures. Reminiscent of cave painting, Francis Bacon, and Basquiat. Art brut and primitivism colliding headfast into graffiti.
Like many artists of his generation, Matt thanks skateboarding and teen alienation as defining personal and artistic moments that illuminated a new way of existing – internally and free from the constraints of the outside world.
After losing years of his life to the horrors of opioid addiction, Matt kicked the habit in 2017 and began creating art in a furious, passionate and almost compulsive manner.
With Matt elaborating:
“It all started to really elucidate, sometime in late 2017…. I completed treatment and saved up for a flight back home to Baltimore from Florida. My drive to create appeared heavily at this point….
I lived in an empty apartment and worked at a convenience store down the street… My senses came back together and I continued to keep myself busy and occupied, with my own interests.
Whatever I had left over each paycheck, id put directly towards food and art supply. Most of my downtime went directly towards drawing and painting. I would use this as a focal point and coping mechanism to astray myself from returning back to a spiral of distress.”
With Matt constantly pushing himself creatively and personally, we decided to ask him some questions about his artistic practice, life, and a whole lot more.
Read it all via the interview below…
Name + D.O.B?
August 31, 1992.
City, State and Country you currently call home?
Baltimore, MD USA.
City, State and Country you’re from?
Baltimore, MD USA.
Please describe some memories from key stages of your life: concerts, art, toys, romance, hunting, school, politics, crime, religion… ANYTHING really!
* Age 5 – beginnings:
(1997) This is around the time I snapped out of silence and began to embrace my young psyche and sense of humour to everyone around me.
My aunt was someone I spent a majority of my time with. She was a photographer and would capture all of the eccentric moments of being young. The highlight of day was orbited around blasting KISS and Van Halen out of a Volvo, while driving in it with windows rolled down.
My all-time favorite animated sitcom rerun to watch was The Jetsons.
When my coin jar was filled to the top, I’d buy a stack of comic books and read them until I fell asleep.
* Age 10 – continuations:
(2002) Had a lot of difficulties adapting to what was around me. I was bullied in school and had to sit out on the side, most of the time.
I knew at this point there was much more to life than matching attitudes, beliefs and behaviors to group norms.
* Age 15 – getting serious:
(2007) I started getting heavily into skateboarding and music. A kid at my school lent me the misfits boxset and I kept Disc 3: The studio sessions and gave the rest of it back.
My brother collected and owned a ton of skate videos. The soundtracks were the goldmine for new song discoveries. Everyday after school, I would go to this abandon grocery store lot and rip it up until I was a bag of bones. Later on, a group of kids discovered an empty lumberyard. Over a period of time, they turned it into an official skate spot. This is where I met friends that lived for both fun and chaos.
* Age 20 – young adult:
(2012) Things went downhill when I lost interest in everything. I dropped out of high school and circled the drain with heavy drug use.
This cycle repeated itself for 6 years until i hit a rock bottom. My father found me drowning in a bathtub from a drug overdose on October (2015).
* Age 25 – adult mode:
(2017) I completed treatment and saved up for a flight back home to Baltimore from Florida. My drive to create appeared heavily at this point.
There was a time and place for everything, so I awaited patiently and stabilized living on my own again. My senses came back together and I continued to keep myself busy and occupied, with my own interests.
Existence is transitory
Whilst we know you through your art – care to share with us the details of your other creative endeavors… if any?
I sonically collaborate with a musician named Parker Weston based out of Arizona.
Parker has a few side projects that I contribute drums and cover art for.
When and why did you first start to make art?
… and any pivotal artistic moment(s) / influence(s)?
It all started to really elucidate, sometime in late 2017. I lived in an empty apartment and worked at a convenience store down the street.
Whatever I had left over each paycheck, id put directly towards food and art supply. Most of my downtime went directly towards drawing and painting. I would use this as a focal point and coping mechanism to astray myself from returning back to a spiral of distress.
That same year, I connected with an outsider artist from Turkey. She would mail out books and introduce me to early and recent expressionist art.
Please describe the process of producing your art – from original idea, to finished product?
My mind becomes more active and immensely vital in the middle of the night. I wake up out of my dead sleep, splash water on my face and start applying ink or acrylic to a canvas.
All of my paintings are accidental catastrophes. Every piece that I have done was improvised; rather then a fixed idea.
The end result becomes an ability to self reflect on what appears and deteriorate all inner angst.
Worst aspect(s) of the art hustle?
Best aspect(s) of the art hustle?
Creating and networking on my own terms and choosing where to take it next, without any fear or hesitation.
Favorite other artist(s)?
Any projects you want to hype?
Lately, I have been creating these morbid creatures out of polymer clay and having a desire to animate them.
If people wanted to work with you, have a chat or buy something – how should they get in touch?
Odds and Ends
What role did toys play in your childhood(s)?
When I was around 5, I opened a drawer in my cousin’s old bedroom and found a bunch of 80’s and 90’s era Batman and Star Wars Figurines. From that point on, an entire world of cinema opened up to me.
Drugs – waste of time or gateway to the universe?
Post-drug use was more of a gateway to infinite imagination.
Who was your 1st crush and why?
Cyndi Lauper is enchanting.
Does sex change everything?
It can repair apart of oneself that may have been missing everything.
What are the top 3 items you own?
Donovan – Fairytale LP
Signed John Waters art book gifted to me by Tiki Partridge.
Amityville II: Possession painting gifted by Parker Weston (2013.)
In a battle between classic goths Peter Murphy (musician) Vs. Edgar Allan Poe (writer) – who would win in a fight and why?
It depends on who “swings the heartache” first and if “the man in the crowd” is watching.
Please describe your last dream in detail…
This woman with cataract eyes, grabbed me by the wrist and teleported me to different rooms. As she whispered to me, I could see my cold breath in the air.
Her face became morbid as we shifted into the 3rd room.
Eventually, her jaw fell off and my body struggled out of the nightmare, in a state of paralysis.
You are a recent convert to the Partridge Family Temple – what drew you to join the Temple?
… and how is Temple life treating you so far?
(October 2015) I was sent to Fort Lauderdale, FL to fully recover from opioid addiction. While in treatment, I had no choice but to attend mandatory/daily AA and NA meetings. Once a week, they would send us to this one place called “Lambda House”, which was prominently AA based. David Cassidy attended this spot frequently and would speak regularly, towards the end. There was no fear or limitations in the way he opened up and spoke about his struggles. This was an essential experience and I felt a strong interconnection from the level of insight.
In early (2017) I returned back to Baltimore. I then, met a friend that had this incredible record collection. Tiki had anything from Cheap Trick to Psychic TV. As I flipped more through the crates, I spotted some Partridge Family records. Later down the road, I convinced myself that I need to listen to those albums in their entirety. From that moment on, it felt like my heart had been polished. Those records became my main “go to” for enlightenment.
On October the 23rd of 2019, I reached out to Fizzies Partridge and was welcomed to the feathered family, after realizing within myself that I was a Partridge this entire time.
All is Knowing / All is Flowing.
Of everything you have done what would you most like to be remembered for and why?
Continuing to overcome obstacles in a destabilized world.