THRWD Interview – March 2015
This is your last week to view Matthew Brinston’s exhibition of struggle, transformation, and beauty at Mokah Gallery. Originally, Matthew came into the Dallas scene as a member of Fever Dreamer, an alt-rock band signed to Sumerian Records, but after a near-fatal motorcycle accident, his life was transformed.
“It was a spiritual experience that saved my life. I feel the meaning of the pieces can help the viewers through their own struggles.”
“A Battle, A Transformation” explores his struggle with the recovery process and the contrast of light vs dark. Using abstract forms and pastel colors, Matthew’s forms are reminiscent of Picasso, yet his inclusion of drip technique separates him. I had the pleasure of getting to chat with Matthew about inspiration, struggles, and his future endeavors. Interview below.
1. What’s your history in the creative industry? Going from music to art is not unheard of, but you’ve had such a natural transition into being a visual artist.
Before I seriously started pursuing painting I was in a band called Fever Dreamer, which has seen recent success in the alt-rock world, but I knew was supposed to pursue painting. I decided to focus all of my energy at the end of 2014 on visual arts. Once I concentrate entirely on visual arts and painting, opportunities started lining up so naturally. I knew I was doing the right thing.
2. How did creating this work help you in your recovery after the near-fatal accident?
When I’m painting, it usually has to do with something I feel passionate about. I put all of the emotion I have about that subject onto the canvas. It feels as if I am literally getting something out from inside of me.
3. After the accident, how was your view of daily life affected? If you could give one piece of advice to readers, what would it be?
For a couple of months when my broken bones were healing and I wasn’t able to see many people due to rehab and a rocky recovery, I was taking a lot of pain killers (probably more than the doc had ordered). I got stuck in a bitter downward spiral and wanted so badly to change what had happened. Eventually I got past that and it was when I started painting and writing music again that I noticed a change in my mindset.
If I could give one piece of advice, I’d probably say take a good hard look at your life and where it’s going. If you’re not happy with it, make positive changes towards being happy with yourself, no matter what anyone thinks of your choices. Think for yourself.
4. How do you create your pieces? Do you sketch out compositions and ideas or build on pre-existing material?
There are some paintings that I base roughly off a sketched out idea. Most of the time, however, I just have an idea in my head of subject matter, color, and shapes try to create the best rhythm I can on the canvas.
5. Out of all the animals to represent dark vs light, why did you choose bulls and swans?
I chose swans to represent positive change, because they’re symbolic of transformation. Honestly, I found myself sketching them often before I started the series. I chose bulls to represent my personal stubbornness and the internal struggle I was going through trying to come out of a negative place in my life. I felt like I was wrestling with a bull and trying to get past it.
6. After connecting with Mokah, how did you work together with the curator to create the show?
Mokah’s gallery curator contacted me to have a solo exhibit there at the end of 2014 after discovering me on Instagram. I was super stoked because it was right around the time that I had quit the band to pursue painting as a career and focus all my energy on that. The curator and I got together and I went through a few ideas for a series of work before I decided on “A Battle, A Transformation”. They gave me the freedom to decide on the series I felt was the best fit and after that, it just all came together very organically.
7. From being in an alt-rock band, you must know good music we don’t. What are the top 3 songs on your Spotify?
- “Am I Worthy” – Blake Mills
- “Holy Shit” – Father John Misty
- “Kind Hearted Woman” – Robert Johnson
8. Where can we follow you, and what are your daily inspirations?
My handle is @MatthewBrinston on Twitter and Instagram.
My daily inspirations come from just the shit that happens in my daily life and also from talking to others about their lives and daily struggles.
9. What are your plans for the future?
My plan for the future is to continue showing my work in galleries. I’m working on a new series called “I Wish I Were Me” at the moment, so I’ll be showing that in the next few months locally.
10. Lastly, if you could spend one day anywhere in time or space without limits, where would you go, what would you do, and whom would you see?
I’d probably say I’d spend the day in Paris, France in 1910, because I’ve never been to Europe. I’d love to talk and paint with Henri Matisse while Lightnin’ Hopkins is playing his music right there with us. That’d be a pretty incredible experience.