Fascinated by the American West, McCormick draws on both the history of his home state and daily life in east Los Angeles. Read on to explore his studio visit...
Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an artist…
31 years old, living and working in Los Angeles. Raised by two artist parents, and never really wanted to do anything else.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
A lot of the work is based on personal memories and idolized daydreams around those memories. The gaps are filled in by the music I listen to and then from there I will pick and pull from artists past and present to help set the stage for the work.
Matt McCormick says
“Much of my work deals with the trials and tribulations of traversing through life and for me the cowboy and the natural state that they generally exist in is a perfect representation of that.”
Describe your work in three words….
Comes a time.
What is your creative process?
The process jumps around from series to series, but I would say it comes from a lot of experimenting, exploring, and trial and error. A lot of new series have been born out of an element or combination of previous works. I also have the ongoing autobiographical narrative running though almost all of my work so my feelings, mood, and/or personal experiences tend to dictate all of it. From there it comes down to how or what is the most appropriate way to tell said story or express said feelings or emotions. Sometimes it involves painting or drawing individual objects, places, or metaphorical representations from memories. Sometimes it’s the use of carefully selected phrases or lyrics that tie into the narrative, and sometimes it’s just the continued repetition of an ongoing childhood obsession, like the cowboys for example.
What influence does modern culture have on your work?
I try to keep my themes and overall aesthetic as timeless as possible, but current cultural themes play into the work here and there, especially with my story paintings, which can be built on specific objects that pertain to more modern experiences.
Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?
Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?
Right now specifically I find myself heavily inspired by Matisse, Ed Ruscha, Edward Hopper, Richard Prince, Wade Guyton, Steven Parrino, Wayne Thiebaud, Cy Twombly, Robert Bechtle, Dike Blair, Stephen Shore, Robert Adams…….I could go on forever.
Both of your parents are also artists. What effect did growing up in a creative household have on you?
It’s one of those things that takes a while to realize how special and unique that really is, because as a young child you don’t understand the difference between being an artist versus other parents’ careers around you. At an early age it was just what my Mom and Dad did. That being said, looking back it was amazing! Firstly, it showed that it was possible, even though I had no idea how for a bunch of years and secondly, it fostered so much creativity regardless of whether or not I wanted to listen to them. I spent a lot of years rebelling against everything but somehow still kept creating. Sometimes it was through just having a small studio set up in my room where I would draw and paint, tattooing, or designing stages and props for music tours, and at the very least I would say that I learned that continuous work ethic from them. They both have strengths that combined, allowed them to run a successful business. I’ve been fortunate to somewhat inherit traits from both of them that have really helped with both creating the work and also handling the more administrative side of me career.
What influence does the notion of the traditional American West and cowboy culture have on your work?
On a very basic visual level it has a huge influence, it’s a starting point and symbol throughout a lot of the work. Much of my work deals with the trials and tribulations of traversing through life and for me the cowboy and the natural state that they general exist in is a perfect representation of that.
What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?
In keeping with the autobiographical narrative I tend to speak to what I am experiencing in the moment. So when I use quotes in the work I will usually be letting what is going on in my head seep into the works. It can go many ways - sometimes sad, sometimes happy, and everything in between.
What makes you nervous?
Getting lost in my own head.
What makes you excited about the future?
About Matt McCormick
Within McCormick’s body of work, seemingly incompatible elements cohabitate with ease, reflecting the conflicting histories of California.
And Maybe When You Look Too Hard You Never Do Become Aware
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About Matt McCormick
Matt McCormick is a multimedia artist who lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. His work assimilates a diversity of cultural influences culled from the American West into an artistic vision that is as unique and dynamic as the topography itself. Within McCormick’s various bodies of work, seemingly incompatible elements cohabitate with ease, reflecting the conflicting histories of California. Ruminating on the striking contrast between present day downtown Los Angeles and the physical inheritance of the Wild West, his works are populated with dejected and disposable objects infused with the vibrant cultural legacy that remains as alive today as ever before.
“When I step back and look at the work that I have created and continue to create, I find myself viewing the work in the same way I would listen to an old traveling hymn. For me using marks on the chosen canvas has become the easiest way to tell my story, but in doing so I strive to tell the story in a way that allows the viewer to become entrenched in and potentially make the story their own. Whether it be a cinematic landscape with an almost alien stillness, void of any explicit reference to the human form or a crudely sketched charcoal rendering of an austere cowboy accompanied by ambiguous text referencing a forgotten moment, I want to cut to the core of human emotion in a way that even the most closed-off individuals can relate to, even if only in the privacy of their own minds.
The work acts as a diary of sorts, sometimes being documented in real time, and other times looking back with a matured eye. Occasionally it acts as a collage of the past, and at other times, a blueprint for the future.” - Matt McCormick
2008 The Art Students League of New York, New York, NY
2018 Sky Above The Clouds, Darrow Contemporary, Aspen, CO
2018 Matthew McCormick and Thrush Holmes, The Office, Miami
2017 The Last Cigarette, Star Street, Hong Kong, HK
2017 Install II, Levi’s House, Los Angeles, CA
2017 A___is___A, Golborne Gallery, London, UK
2016 Not As It Seems, Nothing As It Seems, All Day Everyday, Los Angeles, CA
2016 Install I, Interscope Lounge, Los Angeles, CA
2016 Remnants Of The Rodeo, Smashbox Studios, Los Angeles, CA
2016 Playboys & Girls, Slow Culture, Los Angeles, CA
2016 One Of These Days, AGENDA, Long Beach, CA
2016 Ishton’s Porch, Hou Yee Chan, Los Angeles, CA
2015 9 Lives, Castle Fitzjohns Gallery, New York, NY
2015 Legends Never Die, Mi Vida, Los Angeles, CA
2015 Cat’s Out Of The Bag, Slow Culture, Los Angeles, CA
2015 Outlined, Bergamont Station, Santa Monica, CA
2015 Ruin Value, Astroetic Studios, Los Angele, CA
2015 Text Me, Hazen Projects, New York, NY
2014 When I Die, Bury Me Face Down So The Whole World Can Kiss My Ass, The Good Company, New York, NY
Jaques Marie Mage, “The Calm Is The Storm” Journal, June 2018
Alex Maeland, “How Long Did That Take To Paint” Maekan, May 2018
Isabelle Davis, “Artist Interview: Matt McCormick” Art Of Choice, October 2017
Manfredi Gioacchini, “Rising Stars of Los Angeles,” Vogue Italia, September 2016
Bobby Kim, “The Life in a Day: Artist Matt McCormick,” The Hundreds, July 2016
Darius Khandehroo, “Studio Visit,” Jackpot Magazine, June 2016
Asato Iida, “Los Angeles Issue,” Ollie Magazine, January 2016
Sophia Alami-Nassif, “Artist Focus,” Untame Worldwide, January 2016
Yasi Salek, “Cult Talk: Matt McCormick,” Cultist, June 2015
Jaime Kay Waxman, “9 Lives Review,” Vogue Japan, May 2015
Janeau Dahl “Artist Spotlight”, Pacific Dissent, March 2015
Alexander Spit, “DIY” The Hundreds, March 2014
Q. Where do you draw inspiration from?
A. A lot of the work is based on personal memories and idolized daydreams around those memories...