Sunday, July 29, 2012

Matti Paints - Subjects Seanna and Tarah

So Tarah has wanted to do this project for a while now...
Feel my excitement.
 So I knew right away that it would be an easier and enjoyable session. But then there was her sister Seanna who has been fighting this idea for a while now, despite the fact that I used her in my promo for the Kickstarter.

PS- for those who haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for?

So when Seanna showed up with Tarah I was very excited at the prospect of getting to paint sisters again. I enjoyed my experience painting Sarah and Caitlin, so I was curious to see how Seanna and Tarah would end up.
However, one thing I did differently was I painted them both individually. Tarah and Seanna each got their own music to create their own pictures meaning I could take more cues from who they were as individuals rather than work on a cohesive piece. I enjoyed this tactic as it made it easier to bring out their own individual colours and features.
Seanna's Playlist

Tarah's "chill" Playlist

 There were many interesting events that happened in this process. For one, Tarah's colours she picked ended up looking much lighter on her skin than she had hoped, but actually ended up complimenting her in a way that dark colours wouldn't have. Plus I ended up doing some very interesting facial constructions on her face that really brought out her mysterious side. I have to say that after photographing her, I feel she looks a bit like a young Paulina Poriskova.

Seanna ended up with a series of bright colours that reminds me more of Avatar than any other painting I've done so far. Maybe it's the colours. Maybe it's her serene expression, but something about this painting suggests that any moment now... She'll see me.
Ok, that's the only Avatar reference I shall make. I promise.
It's funny when they were completed since they really didn't seem to go together until I put them together.
 The deatil on the shoulder was where the similarities really started to shine through. There's a tree-like quality to the way their arm colours blend together.
Plus after hearing how much their mother was a fan of this project, you know I could never turn away these delightful siblings.
Painting them together was a great experience. We laughed, we cried (mostly me and Tarah because her music choices were very... "chill") and overall I like to believe that I captured them in a very sweet, loving way that shows them as the beautiful girls that they are.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Matti Paints - Subject Bob

So this is Bob

So Bob is from Seattle, meaning that he is by far the person who has come the furthest to be a part of this project. (Not including WES or ALAN)

He's a very sweet person, which was something that I think was encapsulated in his painting very well. He chose very bright, excited colours which wouldn't necessarily compliment well, but pull together to craft a very calm and sweet number.

He's also an artist and his drawings always bring a smile to my face. For instance, he's the man who has crafted the logo for the Human Canvas Project.
Which is awesome. (He does a daily webcomic which you can check out at here. I'm starting you at the second one because it begins an adorable sequence I think everyone should experience.)

He has a really great heart and is so full of life that I really wanted to show case him in a creative and spectacular way. I think the painting was successful in a lot of ways as it showed a lot of his most positive sides.

My Style

As I pass the halfway mark of this project, there are a few things I really wanted to reflect on.
First off, I never thought that I was a good painter. This was the last thing I would have expected to be doing had you asked me back in high school.
I never had much of a handle on craft, or detail. My pictures were always rough and unfinished. They were cartoony. They weren't good. I never saw myself as being able to do this because I wasn't a good drawer.
"butterfly" 2003, watercolour
This was my work in high school. Rough, unfinished. Certainly not what I would consider the early work of an artist.

"Planetoid" 2004, acrylic on canvas board

I remember back to when me and Nathan were little. We used to gather around his families table and draw. And when we did this, he was always so much better than me. He had a natural artistic talent that I lacked. His pictures were always so clean and precise. His cartoons were good. Mine were not.
Out of this came some sort of inferiority complex that settled in me until I hit high school and took an art class with my friends Susan and Bailey.

Soon, I began to improve. I look back at my sketch books from those times and I realize how much I improved just by sticking to my craft.

But in my eyes, even with all my improvements I still wasn't good enough.

It wasn't until I went back to university that I finally realized that I had a talent. I see things in ways others don't. My unique vision is actually my own and through influences, I've realized that I have strengths as an artist that others don't.
This was my work in first year. A silly piece called "Breakfast of Venus" based around the "Birth of Venus" picture by Boticelli. It's silly. It's fun... but it was also a bit of a turning point for me. I started to realize that I could do things for myself.

As my other friends in the program got better, I began to get more experimental.

I played with colours.
"Duality" 2009, oil on canvas
I realized that even though my work was stylized, it brought with it a new set of delightful challenged specifically for me. While my friends were trapped within the confines of realism, I shot for absurdity.

The Vitruvian "Man", 2011 - acrylic on canvas

"By The Gods" 2011- acrylic on canvas
I began to get compliments from the people who I admired telling me what a unique and creative vision I had. Teachers who once came down hard on me began to get excited about my work.
"Drag Queens Last Supper", 2011 - acrylic on board

I've become something I never expected to be. An artist. And it's only now that I dive deeper and deeper into the Human Canvas Project that I'm realizing the incredible impact it is having on my life.

I'm seeing people differently. You know how some people claim they can see people's auras? Like that one is gold, or green? I'm secretly wondering what colour these people are on the inside? Am I truly capturing their essence in a photograph?

And the only way I really know that is if they or their friends respond with an enthusiastic yes.

It's a strange process, but one that I'm growing into slowly.

Now I find that I'm working with a completely new medium, but it makes sense in a weird way. I've always painted my people as every colour in the rainbow. Now I'm turning my friends into the people I would normally paint them as.  Bright colourful beacons to show off to the world.

It's a neat thought that what started as a form of self expression has turned into a form of celebration. A way for me to communicate how I have seen the world for all these years.

As the project moves forward, I'm excited to discover what will happen next.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Matti Paints - Subject Kevin C

What do you call someone who holds such a special and beautiful place in your heart that you've only met a couple of times?

Some might say confidant, some might say acquaintance... I would say it's somewhere between a lover, a cousin and a pet. I've had the privilege of having a few friends in my life who occupy this very affection position, and one of them is Kevin.

I have known this guy through thick and thin. He's seen me in every stage of my adult life and always been there to lend an ear.

Also it turns out he knows Patrick from way back when. I guess amazing people just run in packs.

I knew he'd been through a bit of a hard patch lately and as such seeing his playlist wasn't such a surprise. A lot of songs about healing, finding yourself and recovering.

Plus, one song I put in there as a bit of a bittersweet memory. Ten points if you guess which one!

I don't know why I love bittersweet memories so much. I guess they just make life more interesting.

Anyway, as a result I found myself being drawn to a very soft and gentle part of Kevin. I felt like he was wanting something more. He wanted to know that what he was doing was ok. I wanted to show him who he really was. Strong, handsome and powerful. 

Again I'm noticing patterns. I've been associating yellow with power lately. Mainly because the colour dilutes  and blends so easily that to have a solid stripe of yellow is hard, so to block off an entire section of the body in it becomes a challenge. Especially when paired with the green. You need to be very conscious of where the yellow will be, and the fact that the green lines cross over his heart seems to suggest a kind of guarded vulnerability.

Again, I work with a literal tree motif, but this time a strongly realistic approach over a solid grey backing. Why? I'm not really sure. There is something extremely solid and spiritual about a tree. And the fact that it's layered over grey suggests new life.

Am I looking too much into this painting? Probably. But that's what I'm supposed to do, right?

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Matti Paints - Subject Ben

So Ben is a friend of Kevin's who saw the project and agreed to be a part of it.
And I am very glad he did.

First off, once again I forgot to take a before picture which is disappointing. I really need to remember to do that.

However, one of the most exciting things about this particular canvas is that Ben is number 50.

Yes. I have now officially done 50 separate canvases. Each  more difficult than the last. I've grown. The project has grown. What started as an idea and a very confused expression from Wes has grown into this with momentum still going strong.

So needless to say I was very excited working with Ben. I couldn't have asked for a better canvas. He was friendly and from the moment he entered my apartment, we were both at ease and enjoying the experience. Plus he chose Tina Turner. That made my day.

Ben was surprisingly enjoyable to paint. I ended up creating patterns on him that I hadn't made before. His face ended up with solid line work which is a style I haven't experimented with too much yet which ended up being a pleasant surprise. The back piece featured a giant spiral that was outlined in Celtic designs. His arms were a teal and pink mix of Aztec patterns followed by a chest piece that looked like armor.

So of course we choose a picture that features him as a pose from the side.

Awe well, I'm still very happy with the end product! 

To support the project check out the KICKSTARTER here to help us get a gallery space!

Matti Paints - Subject Luke

Luke was an interesting surprise for me.

He is someone who I have known for yeas, although we'd never actually got a chance to meet before. We've been great friends and had many talks, but never got to meet face to face.

It's amazing how quickly that changed when I got a paint brush in my hands.

So this is Luke.

If you're wondering why I don't have a proper before shot it's because I forgot to take one. This is turning into a very bad habit of mine, and one I promise I am trying to break.

Anyhow, meeting Luke was a good experience. We have a lot in common and our conversation was instantly enjoyable. Under the layers of awkwardness he's a really interesting person.

When Luke was 17, he was diagnosed with cancer. As a result, he's become a strong vibrant individual and I really wanted to reflect that. The colours he chose (only three I should mention) were very iconic. Blue, red and yellow. It's the most basic colour scheme you could get. But because of his history I really wanted to capture him in a new and unique way. Considering I got the three most basic colours, the fact that the colours never mix makes this one of the more interesting portraits I've done. It's oddly balanced and the colours on his skin reflect an almost super-hero-esque quality. 

Painting Luke was a joy. I really enjoyed getting the opportunity and I hope he enjoyed the final result as the rest of the process.

Matti Paints - Subjects Zane and Ryan

So one of the most difficult aspects of this project has been the group pictures.
There are many problems that arise when you decide to do two people in the span of time intended for one person. The most obvious being each person will only get 15-20 minutes of paint time meaning that each piece is half as detailed so you need to be extra careful in how you paint each person. Other factors come into play of course; how long will each song be? How will these colours work together? How do I divide the colours?
Just many issues.
So when Ryan aproached me about the possibility of shooting with his friend Zane, I was enthused, but to be completely honest I was nervous. 
 First off, they're two very different people. How would they photograph together? Their skins are very different, how could I find combine the paints in a way that would work beautifully on both skin tones? How would the paints react to a darker skin tone?
Many questions.
Many fantastic reactions.
I've known Ryan for a while now, and he's always a bundle of joy and enthusiasm. He's loud and proud in the best way and I really admire him for that. He's a delight so I knew anyone he brought over to be painted with would have just as much energy and enthusiasm as him. And Zane did.
Throughout the experience they had me in stitches, and while they both were nervous at the prospect and the final product, the painting process itself was a delight.
Ryan chose the colours, and as such they're all very bright and fun. Pink, blue, yellow, green, black and white. Almost a perfect primary coat to work with.

Their songs were varied, with me and Zane bonding over Maria Mena (which is just awesome in my books) and Ryan bringing a selection of dance pop tunes.
Overall the experience was very enjoyable. I greatly enjoyed their company and the picture ended up encapsulating a really soft, beautiful side.
Funny how lately the picture I think I'm painting never seems to be the painting I end up with.
I wonder what that's about.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Matti Paints - Subject Erin

So Erin's portrait is a bit of a happy coincidence. She was in the neighbourhood as I was painting ANGELA and JORDAN, strangely enough over with LIBBY and CASSIE since we all live in the same area,  and just decided to hit me up to see what I was doing. When I offered her the chance to be a part of the project she jumped at the opportunity. Literally. Look how enthused she looks in her before picture.
Look Matti. Look how enthused I am.
Erin, if you haven't guess already, is another friend from North Bay. She is the SOLE reason I passed history of drama my second year at Nipissing. She is also one of the smartest people I know.
Seriously. Her mind is so sharp it could cut someone. In fact it has cut me several times. She is someone I owe much to, and I don't even think she realizes the incredible impact she has had on my life.
Seriously. This girl is the reason I passed my second year of university.
This is not the first time I've got to artistically work with Erin. A couple years ago she was involved in my production of Love*Fool where she played the ever frantic and unnerved Peter Quince. Strange enough I have a hunch her character choices might have been based on me a bit...
(Me? Frantic? Never! Anyway...)
I was super happy with her colour choices EVEN THOUGH they were WAY outside my comfort zone. Red, purple, tan, brown and silver. After about three lines with Erin she told me she expected me to have difficulty with them.
Thanks Erin. Thanks a lot for that.
but in the end I really liked the direction it ended up. I find lately I've been getting a lot of earthy colours. Perhaps it is the season but it really is turning into a theme lately.
The painting session was relaxing and enjoyable, despite the fact that Angela and Jordan were hanging around when we were painting. There was a bit of a time constraint but I really didn't feel any pressure while we were painting. We were just hanging out. And I just happened to be painting her.
That's normal right?
In the end, I found a picture that I felt truly captured the spirited, amazing person that Erin is. I love it.
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Matti Paints - Subjects Angela and Jordan

This is Angela. (And Jordan in the background)

These are two friends from way back in North Bay days. Essentially I met Angela and Jordan while I was doing a production of Godspell with the Trinity church up there. They were 14. I was older. By a fair amount. But hey! The production was fun, and how many times does a guy get to play Jesus? If the answer is any more than one, you might have a god complex.

Angela was the one to contact me about getting painted, and given our history I eagerly agreed. I mean, how many times do you get to paint an old friend?

So since they're both new to the city, I figured I'd welcome them the best way I knew how.

Angela went first and between the two of them she's certainly the one I knew better. We would often talk back in the Godspell days about everything. Plus I vividly remember a day when I had to take the train south to Toronto when I had a tonsil infection, and Angela was there with her family. Her mom nursed me through the occasion with advil and Buckleys. Plus on the trip I got to visit her grandfathers restaurant and got to eat for free. (it was a good trip)
Plus, he made an amazing rum and coke. I'm still sure to this day that he used food colouring instead of soda.

Anyway, here's her playlist.
 No major surprises but we got a few good bonding moments over Cranberries, Beck and Alanis.
It was a great experience, and the fact that she chose purples and blues as her base colours, plus our history, it made for a really great experience. The paint job was very easy and in the end we ended up with a very beautiful piece.

What made this particular paint job so interesting was the open-door concept. It was never just me and Angela, or me and Jordan. It was me, Wes, Rob, Erin, Jordan and Angela.  My home was a hot bed of activity and as a result it became a very social and enjoyable experience. I'm not sure I'd be able to do this sort of thing with a stranger, but since everyone who came today was someone I'd already had a connection to, I figured I could get away with it.

So Jordan is a very different situation than Angela. Where with Angela I had a strong bond with her, Jordan was someone I never really knew extremely well. Sure, I always liked her and thought she was fun, but we never really got to spend any time together.

That being said, once I actually got a listen to the playlist she created, not knowing her better was something I instantly regretted. I mean come on! She chose Ingrid, Bowie AND Fleetwood Mac? How were we not amazing friends before?

Her colour choices were all very bright and helped to serve her positive outlook and spirit. She's a little bit awkward, but I really enjoyed getting the chance to get to know her better.

The painting process started in a very unusual way. I started at her mouth and did three diagonal lines up to her ear. Something I've never done but I ended up with a very unique patchwork design that I haven't done before. I really enjoy getting surprised by the process.

Overall, I really enjoyed getting to paint these two. It was a very fulfilling experience getting to spend time with these two, and a great way to get to see old friends.

To support the project please visit my KICKSTARTER page to donate and share with your friends. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Matti Paints- Subject Cassie, Libby and Chelsea

If two of these three girls look familiar, you're probably familiar with THIS picture. If so... AWESOME!

After talking to the girls last night they both talked to me saying that as much as they loved having their picture taken together, it would be nice if I could capture both of their essences as individuals. So, as one to never turn down a challenge, I gladly obliged.

So after Matt Ryan, I set to work on Cassie since Libby was too hungover and since Chelsea hadn't done this yet, it seemed like an excellent opportunity.

Once again my lack of harder music was Cassie's frustration, but she did manage to scrape together a collection of songs that would suffice. However, one thing I have started instituting is a strict time line for the song choices. You now only have ten minutes to pick them and stick them.

BSB are hardcore.
Also, Cassie got the additional challenge of only picking four colours. She picked black, lavender silver and grey. Talk about a challenge!

Her skin picked up the paint well and within a short amount of time we were done. I didn't even need the final song and we simply hopped up on the wall and started the shoot.

Cassie remains as photogenic as ever although the paint job I gave her was a fair bit harder than her previous one. I was happy with how it turned out. Especially since it shows off her mysterious, mischievous side.

Next up was Chelsea. 

A new friend. One I just met yesterday briefly, but she's quite the character. She's very friendly but has a very confident manner about her that makes you take notice of her tough quality quickly. That being said, her music choices and colour palate proved to showcase a much different side of her character. 
 I was especially drawn to the song Good Mother by Jann Arden and really felt that song perfectly encapsulated who I perceived Chelsea to be. Anyone who plays that song immediately has my respect. Plus she has lyrics from it on her leg. I guess that's what stood out the most since she reminded me of an old friend who had lyrics from it on his arm. 

That being said, she also chose Lady Bouncer, so she clearly has a fun and upbeat side. How anyone outside of the North Bay nightclub "The Zoo" knows that song is beyond me. 
Man I haven't been there in years. I wonder if they still play it. 
If I know North Bay bars... probably. 

Anyway in the end I think her painting did a good job of showing the person I met, albeit briefly.

Finally there was Drinky Mc-hungoverson.

Me and Libby go way back so it was interesting to see how her mood changed. During her stay here I saw her go from barely capable of moving, to plotting out where our adventures would be taking us tonight. Girl is crazy, but I still loves her.

 This time, I went with a very different approach to Libby. I wanted to keep her painting extremely simple since I find that sometimes simplicity leads to some of the more interesting paintings, and lately a lot of my portraits have been so busy, it was nice to have something SO simple.
The result was a very clean, beautiful portrait, that might be one of my favorites so far. There is something about her picture that was absolutely stunning and I love it.

 Together, the three of them were all very easy to work with. Especially since two of them knew what to expect.
I have to say I'm extremely happy with the pictures I got to create today. It's just been a good day for these things.

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To be a part of the Human Canvas Project, email me HERE

Matti Paints - Subject Matt Ryan

 This is Matt Ryan. I've had the privilege of knowing him for years. He is one of the best comedic actors North Bay has ever produced and will continue to do amazing things in the future.

When we met he was Judas to my Jesus. Literally. He was quite literally my Judas in a production of Godspell. I don't think it's a dynamic we ever grew out of. We have layers and layers of inside jokes that are so full of hilarity that they've literally become joke onions.

In a way I've seen him grow up. Grow from someone with so much potential, to seeing him now as the man who's realized it and is still growing. So needless to say it was a great time and I couldn't be prouder of the final product.

His music choices were pretty interesting. Varied, and surprisingly he chose a lot of songs that although I had them, I didn't really know them too well. (I added "you spin me" based on an inside joke. Seriously. We're a joke onion.) -EAT POTASSIUM BIPED!

Matt Ryan came to me with very specific wants from the piece. He wanted to be painted from the back in a specific position. However, something really interesting is he said "I want gold and purples... but you choose the colours". Brave, brave man.

The process was easy. Right away we were joking away about baby seals and the good old days in North Bay.  It was a real treat and his skin worked very well with the paints. It was a very easy process. So easy in fact I actually finished before the time had finished.

So the piece is a fair bit dark, but in the end he looks really amazing. It's like what would happen if Two-Face and Poison Ivy had a son.  

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And as a treat: MASSACRE!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Matti Paints - Subject Alan

I know what you're thinking and yes. It's true. I've now officially painted an Irish man. In many ways, he's the first major expansion of my project. Sure I've painted lots of people of Irish descent, but everyone so far has been Canadian. (or American, but that's pretty much Canadian)

Me and Alan met when the power was out in my building and I had no idea what to eat for dinner. As a result I found Alan and he invited me over to a) get out of my building, and b) to eat. It was much appreciated and a beautiful friendship has emerged because of this.

We have a great deal in common which made his song choices a surprise. To him. Not to me. He was constantly asking me how I had so many UK songs on my playlist. As a result we ended up with a lot of songs that we both loved. ESPECIALLY Loreen who I am currently obsessed with. But that's besides the point. The point is we both love pop music. It's fun.
Plus Irish guy picks Sinead O'Connor and Cranberries. What a surprise.

One major surprise in his choices were his colour choices. Again, it's a case of the tertiary colours, but this time they were chosen with a very different motivation at hand. Namely, Alan chose colours that were distinctly "Irish". Green, orange and white (for the flag), and purple and pink because they're beautiful colours.

We started this project after a quick pint at the pub. As a result I didn't really realize how opposed his colours were. That, combined with the difficult nature of working with chest and arm hair I knew I had to do something very different from what I normally did. As a result I painted him entirely with a stippled effect. Instead of using the brush in strokes I would fill the paint brush with paint and then dab at him instead of dragging it across him. As a result I ended up with a very distinct pattern that was very much like flowers or a smoky field on his shoulders. I was disappointed that this didn't come out as strongly in the final photograph. There were many bands of colours that simply blended together just based on the nature of the paint. For instance his face is actually layers of pink, orange and yellow that unfortunately blended together. The fact that a lot of the paint was dabbed on also didn't help matters.

That being said, Alan is a lovely and enjoyable person, and I hope he enjoys his final shot. It's quite intense, but I think he looks good.

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Also to become a part of the project please send an email HERE