Sign Up

Join the Tappan family and stay connected to the art world, including invitations to exclusive events and early access to unparalleled emerging art.

Studio Visit - Matthew Trygve Tung

Studio Visit - Matthew Trygve Tung

Studio Visit - Matthew Trygve Tung

|

Studio Visit with Matthew Trygve Tung

Matthew Trygve Tung was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2006 and subsequently relocated to New York, where he completed his MFA at Hunter College in 2012. He was awarded a Keyholder Residency at the Lower East Side Printshop in 2008 and received the Eleanor Gay Lee and Esther Fisher Perry awards from Hunter College in 2012. His work was featured in New American Paintings MFA Annual, Issue 99, and has been exhibited at galleries including Denise Bibro Fine Art, Blank Space Gallery, Geras-Tousignant, The Luggage Store, Spattered Columns in conjunction with ACNY, and through Ugly Art Room’s programming. Trygve Tung's work explores the desire for and unattainability of order. Using Internationalist housing and modernist structures as visual starting points, he focuses on the moment when the prescribed order of the grid begins to come apart and these utopic architectures are transformed into monuments of entropy. Repetition magnifies imperfection, which is in turn mirrored by his mark making. Each drawing is measured and calculated; yet as with the buildings they capture, the idealized form is transformed by time and human fallibility, giving way to a new harmony...

Q.

When did you start calling yourself an artist?

A.

Making art has always been central part of my life—I’m not sure when I started calling myself an artist, but the act of creating has been a part of me for as long as I can remember.

 

Q.

When do you make your best work?

A.

When I’m working on drawings and paintings I work best at night after everyone has gone to bed. With pottery it’s the opposite, I work best in the morning or early afternoon when my mind is fresh and (relatively) uncluttered.

 

Q.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

A.

Material and method are fairly intertwined with idea for me, they all serve each other to varying degrees.

 

Q.

Is art making therapeutic for you?

A.

At its best, art making is extremely therapeutic and meditative for me; it is a way of quieting and focusing my mind, allowing me to get outside of myself and into the moment with whatever I am working on.

 

Q.

Artist whose career you covet?

A.

Honestly, anyone who gets to spend all of their time making art and not worrying about day jobs!

 

Q.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

A.

At its best, art making is extremely therapeutic and meditative for me; it is a way of quieting and focusing my mind, allowing me to get outside of myself and into the moment with whatever I am working on.

Q.

Artist whose career you covet?

A.

Continuing to make work, hopefully with a schedule that allows me to focus the majority of my working time on my own art.

Q.

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

A.

I would love to spend an extended period of time making art somewhere along the Pacific Coast, where I could hear and smell the ocean all day long.

  

Q.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

A.

I was born and raised in San Francisco, which has always been an especially vibrant city, especially in those days before all of the tech companies moved in. My mom used to have her own small graphic and typesetting business back in the days when cut-and-paste were literal terms, involving razor blades and glue guns, and when computers served a minimal role. As a kid I spent a ton of time at her office drawing and playing with all of the tools she had there. Her job also put her on the periphery of a lot of other creative fields, so I had a fair share of exposure to different people making different things.

 

I also spent a lot of time with my dad at job-sites he worked on as a painting contractor, which was pretty far removed from an traditional sense of the creative world, but actually taught me a lot about how to look and see. His work involved an incredible amount of attention to detail, as well as the big picture, and he would always ask me to serve as an extra set of eyes when he brought me along. We also spent a lot of time in paint and hardware stores, and to this day I can still lose myself in a display of paint color swatches.

On his ceramic pieces

"Seeking harmony between form and function, he employs a variety of clay bodies and custom glazes to create objects that embrace both beauty and the everyday."

Q.

What are your other hobbies?

A.

Long meandering walks, typically with my camera.

  

Q.

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

A. 

I think Saul Leiter would have been an interesting guy to have a drink with before he passed away—he had a fascinating approach to art, fame, beauty, and looking at the world.

 

Q.

What influences you?

A.

Patterns, prints, architecture—the deliberate and the incidental. I spend a lot of time just looking and absorbing, whether it be on my way to work or down some internet rabbit-hole. The more you look, the more you see.

   

Q.

What’s your studio philosophy?

A.

Enjoy what you’re doing and don’t overthink it.

 

Avoid thinking of art-making as “work.”

Q.

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

A.

My primary studio has been in my apartment since 2012, initially by necessity, but eventually by choice. I like having my work and the ability to work right there in my home. As a result the time I spend making art is very integrated into my home-life. I don’t set off to the studio at a designated time and spend x-number of hours there, instead I work on things whenever the time or inspiration crop-up. This has been especially valuable since my Daughter was born last year—I get most of my drawing and painting done after everyone else is in bed. I do work in a separate communal studio for my pottery, though, and I try to get over there as often as possible. 

Q.

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

A.

I can go either way. I’ll usually start out listening to some podcasts to keep me company, but often end up working in silence once I’m absorbed in the work.

 

Q.

What’s next?

A.

Keep on making art.

About Matthew Trygve Tung

He was awarded a Keyholder Residency at the Lower East Side Printshop in 2008 and received the Eleanor Gay Lee and Esther Fisher Perry awards.

 

Read More

Explore

We invite you to explore our curated collection of abstract artworks by Tappan artists.

 

Explore More

About Matthew Trygve Tung

Matthew Trygve Tung was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2006 and subsequently relocated to New York, where he completed his MFA at Hunter College in 2012. He was awarded a Keyholder Residency at the Lower East Side Printshop in 2008 and received the Eleanor Gay Lee and Esther Fisher Perry awards from Hunter College in 2012. His work was featured in New American Paintings MFA Annual, Issue 99, and has been exhibited at galleries including Denise Bibro Fine Art, Blank Space Gallery, Geras-Tousignant, The Luggage Store, Spattered Columns in conjunction with ACNY, and through Ugly Art Room’s programming.

RESIDENCIES

2008-2009, Keyholder Residency, Lower East Side Printshop (LESP)

 

AWARDS

2012, Eleanor Gay Lee & Esther Fish Perry Awards

2006, San Francisco Art Institute Spring Show Award

2004-2006, Osher Memorial Merit Scholar

 

SELECTED EXHIBITION
2013, Urban Landscapes, Blank Space Gallery, New York, NY.

2012, Art From the Boros, Denise Bibro Fine Art, New York, NY.

2012, Affordable Art Fair, presented by RAR Gallery of Berlin, New York, NY.

2012, Hunter MFA Thesis Exhibition Spring 2012, New York, NY.

2012, Through Archetypes, Ugly Art Room, Brooklyn, NY.

2010, Structured, Curated by Jeff Bergman, Spattered Columns, New York, NY.

2010, A Cinderella Story: From a Bomb to a Bombshell, Ugly Art Room, Brooklyn, NY.          

2009, Chris Gartrell, Michael Rudokas, and Matthew Trygve Tung, 371 Canal Street, New York, NY.

2009, New Work by Artists in Residence, LESP, New York, NY.
Urbane Development, Curated by Joe Fig, LESP, New York, NY.

2009, The Grid, Geras-Tousignant Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2009, Winter Exhibition, Curated by Fabienne Lasserre, LESP, New York, NY.

2008, Spectrum no. 6 Benefit for the Access Institute, The Mezzanine, San Francisco, CA.

2007, Spectrum no. 5 Benefit for the Access Institute, The Mezzanine, San Francisco, CA.

2007, Group Show, Geras-Tousignant Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2007, The Print Show!, SQFT Gallery, Nashville, TN.

2006, Saturation, A Dwelling Place, PSII Gallery, Long Island City, NY.

2006, Senior Spring Show, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA.

2006, Anne Bremer Memorial Library Annual Artists’ Book Contest, Walter and McBean Galleries, San Francisco, CA.

2005, Revolution, Balazo 18 Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2005, Thick Lens, The Luggage Store, San Francisco, CA.

2005, Transmundane, Live Worms Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2005, Artists’ Books: The Book as a Medium, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2005,Printers’ Group Juried Exhibition, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

 

PUBLICATION

2012, New American Paintings issue 99, MFA Annual.

 

RELATED PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCES

2013, Teaching Assistant to Creighton Michael, Advanced Drawing, Hunter College, City University of New York.

2012, Graduate Teaching Assistant to Creighton Michael, Drawing I, Hunter College, City University of New York.

2011, Graduate Teaching Assistant to Bruce Porter, Graphic Arts Workshop I & II, Hunter College, City University of New York.

2005 & 2006, Teaching Assistant to Les Ferriss, Artists Books/Evolving Books, San Francisco Art Institute.


  \