Matthew Bourne is a Sydney local who has been tirelessly passionate about producing street art since he was a teenager. QR spoke to Matty in the lead up to his 2nd show at Spooning Goats Bar in York Street about how he got here, where he’s going and what he thinks about the increasing popularity of the Street Art genre.
So how does a big white dude from the suburbs get into the street art genre? Where did that come from?
I’ve always had a passion for street art, and people around me never thought it would lead to anything. But when you have a passion for something and never give up, follow your instincts, it tends to work out eventually. Now I’m headed in the right direction, surrounding myself with artists with the same passions.
Surrounding yourself literally and figuratively. You’ve also been building a bit of a collection at home in the living room right?
Yeah, and I love going to shows and meeting new artist, seeing new art. I have been slowly building my lounge wall with other artists work from shows I go to. Currently I have paintings from Pigeon Boy, Days, Mike Watts, Mike Giant, and Mr Brainwash.
Yeah that was a great experience, loved every second. When you take yourself out of the comfort of the studio and paint to a live audience it can be daunting. But it doesn’t take long to get into the groove. I met some lovely people at The Hive, and the bar owners have been stoked with the end result… I put some big days in, and I’m really proud.
Have you ever had trouble feeling comfortable about showing your work to others?
I think all artists have a fear of their work being critiqued. It takes hours to produce something beautiful, with blood sweat and tears going into the final product. But one professional to another I need critiquing, how am I meant to get better and perfect my skills if someone doesn’t tell me my painting is not quite right or that I could have been done that or this better.
I get extremely attached to many of my works, especially when you finish and the piece is like the best I’ve done. I like to keep them for a while and appreciate before letting go. Commissions are great and I love people asking me to produce work for them. Most commissions have a deadline and when something great is created you have no time to appreciate it, it’s like a production line – design, create, finish gone.
Was there ever a time when you stopped creating? Why, and if so how did you find it again? Yes I stopped for some time trying to support the family and working two jobs and paying the bills..it was hard but you have to suck it up, grow up and prioritize. Producing art was a secondary thought, a luxury that played no part in my life at the time. It wasn’t about my art or me; it was about the other 3 people in my life who I love very much. Time away from my art lasted for a period of 4 – 5 years. Think about that for a second! NO art. Looking back now over that time I realize just how depressed I became. It was a cross road leading nowhere other than some dark hole. I love my kids and my wife but I really needed to paint and if things didn’t change my life was slowly going to suffocate me.
So as my life settled I found time to paint. It was glorious; a large weight had been lifted. I frantically produced a body of work with some previous paintings and had a show. That show sold out.
Do you have any opinion on how street art is perceived within the art genre by the art community?
Art critics and the general public have always perceived graffiti, or Street Art as being from a criminal element. Its increase in popularity is probably due to things like the major Art fairs around the world such as Art Basel, Miami, Paris, Biennale / Vivid Sydney, Switzerland and, USA. Galleries started taking note of the following street art was gaining and then the floodgates opened and street art has never looked back.
Yeah because the thing about Street Art originally is that you couldn’t really own it right?
Yeah well ‘Street Art” today has become this huge consumable, profitable commodity. It has become so popular that “serious” art collectors are scrambling to add that “Banksy” ‘Phibs’, or Shepard Fairey to their portfolio, rather than being what it once use to represent, Art unavailable to the rich and detached from every ones reach. The very thing Street Art/ Graffiti fought against it has now become. I feel the Graffiti/ Street Art scene has always wanted to be left alone, kept underground and continue being seen as that criminal element which in its own right made it popular to those that went out at night in the first place and did something illegal. Sure it still happens everywhere around the world still today but the edge has been slowly eroded away.
For the non-believers I would love them to embrace what the world now see’s in Grafitti / Street Art, something beautiful, creative, expressive, dark, powerful, emotive, seductive, but I suppose for the hardcore panel beaters that’s never gonna happen. I love it and have been a fan for years and will continue to be a fan till the day I die.
So what’s the next goal for you? Where would you like to go with your art next?
I would love to network more, possibly do some study and get myself commercially viable. Soon I’ll have a web page and online store. I would love to have another show and possible joint show if the chance becomes available. Gallery representation is a big priority for me this year, but many galleries are full up with shows. ‘NO VACANCY’. If anyone can hook me up that would be great.
We wish you all the best and thanks for taking time out for us today Matty.
My pleasure, thanks so much for your support.
Matt is still on the way to building an online presence. At the moment you can contact him through Bourne Illustrations Facebook Page.