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12 Questions: Matteo Neivert

1. What are 1-3 books that have influenced your life?

Hmmmm. This is a very hard question. 'Atlantis’ by Mark Dotty ‘The Lives of the Artists’ by Giorgio Vasari ‘When You Are Engulfed in Flames’ by David Sedaris 

2. What are you currently working on?

Art-wise, I am working on paintings that illustrate the strength and delicacy of our current natural environment. I love looking and learning from antique Dutch still-life paintings and Japanese Ikebana floral arrangements. At the moment I am trying to force myself to edit my compositions to create drama and a focal point. Sometimes I still like to get carried away with excessive imagery that competes with the main subject. Marrying the subject and background is a difficult task since I invent that relationship.

3. How has failure set you up for later success? What was your favorite failure?

There is no failure, only experimentation and paining is so liberating —you can paint over almost anything. I like learning and experimenting, painting is so viscous… Favorite failure would be the many paintings I keep altering and painting over until I see an amazing image merging or a "light bulb” goes off in my head on how I will complete it. 4. What is your most unusual habit?

Baking and painting late at night.

5. If you could have any painter, living or dead paint your portrait who would it be and why? DaVinci would be amazing as I would want to ask him so many questions about his techniques and about the time he lived in. Also, Gerhard Richter because I respect him so much as an artist and as someone that also plays with realism and abstraction.

6. What is the most indispensable item in your studio/workspace/office? What is your studio like?

My brushes, especially this large soft 4” brush from Windsor Newton. I paint all over the house, my kitchen floor, near the window in the living room, or in my studio. It depends on the light. I feel too contained in my studio —I need a larger space soon. 7. When you feel overwhelmed or uninspired what do you do? What do you do to get out of a funk? What questions do you ask yourself?

I just paint or draw something, anything, to get myself to live in the moment —to be present. That is the most important thing art can offer you. Being in the moment —I am brushing blue and see blue and feel it, it is palpable, I am challenged enough by the paint that I cannot think of my worries of the day, bills, problems, I am enjoying it enough that it makes me feel great, my eyes feast on the colors and mixing of them, the process and journey I take in is so engrossing… that rescues me.

8. Who/What influences your work?

My former art teachers and professors. I feel like I am their "art child", I hear their voices sometimes leading me on, it feels comforting. I also look at art in museums a lot —one can learn thousands of techniques and viewpoints by looking at art from the past. We realize we know so little, and to see through someone else’s eyes is an amazing perspective to gain. it brings you to that point and place, or an emotion or feeling. The environment and it’s issues in the 21st century influences my art so much. I worry about the destruction of our natural habitat and how I can affect changes that will positively impact it. I also look at and document the endless wonders and beauty of the little things in nature that people take for granted -rocks, shells, flowers, roots, eggs, plants, water, trees… I also was heavily influenced by my time as an artist in residence at the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco. What a wonderful place to explore how art and science are enmeshed together. Science and botany through the ages also influences my work. I love looking at how biologists, scientists and botanists document their work from antiquity until now.

9. Do you collect anything? I collect chairs. I garden so I guess I collect plants and seeds. I collect rocks. I collect ceramics. I love drawings by other artists.

10.  What words of advice would you give to your younger self? Do not be afraid. Always be yourself. Art will rescue you, lean on it. 

11.  In the last five years what new belief, or habit has most improved your life or studio practice?

You don’t need a “studio” to create. Make time for your art —turn your phone off, computer off, put on nice music, get snacks and paint! Just do it and don’t give a hoot what anyone else thinks. Do not compare yourselves to others, look at other successful artists and learn from them. Teaching others how to paint helps me get excited about my own art making. Hiking and seeing the amazing plants and vistas of our planet inspires me to paint more and to share those things visually with others. 12.  Share an inspiring image.  A Lady Slipper orchid I found on a hike in ZigZag Oregon near Mt Hood.

BIOSPHERE: featuring paintings by Matteo Neivert, Martin Kahnle, and ceramics sculpture by Peter Morgan runs through September 2nd at James May Gallery.

Work can be purchased though ARTSY


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