Artist Interview: Matthew Schommer

Artist, Matthew Schommer shares with Arthena what its like to work at Christies, make art and his love for Bjork

How did you get involved in art?

I guess you could say I was born into it.  My entire family are artists.  My father, who taught us all, is an amazing painter, drawer, even sculptor. My mother paints, my sister makes drawings and etchings and my other sister and brother are writers and musicians.  Even our grandmother painted.  It's been a major part of my life from day one.

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What brought you to make the portrait of Bjork?

I was doing a lot of celebrity portraits for a while. Mostly classic icons. I felt like I wanted to do something with a more contemporary subject and thought she would be perfect since she is an icon of our generation.  Plus, I'm a big fan of hers.

I love your watercolor collection "New Drawing."  I'm love to hear about the process and influence of the collection?

I'm a drawer at heart really, but in the past few years I've been working on combining the two mediums.  I usually start by staining my paper.  I'll use coffee, tea or wine.  I've even buried the paper in the dirt for a couple of days.  When I find my subject matter I sketch out my composition, add my color and then it's layer upon layer of graphite.  

A lot of my influence is from my parents.  The stories they tell, the pictures they'd show me, then it all branches out from there.  I can easily spend half of the day wading through piles of old photos at thrift stores and flipping through vintage Seventeen magazines. It fascinates me looking back at all of this history and feeling that it seems everything has changed while nothing has really changed at all.  My next body of work touches on that idea a bit more.

How did you get involved in Christies?

A friend actually suggested I look for work as an art handler.  I had just moved to New York from Chicago and was working at a frame shop in Midtown.  I started out as a freelancer at Christies, juggling both for a while.  About a year later they offered me a full time position.  It's really been a great experience.

How has being in Christies influenced your own work?

I think just by being around so much amazing art everyday.  Getting up close and personal with some of the greatest works by the greatest artist in history.  Seeing their techniques, materials and subject matter.  It's really been my art history education.

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About the Author:

Madelaine D'Angelo is the Founder and CEO of Arthena, the worlds first crowdfunding platform for Art Investment. Madelaine hold's her Masters from Harvard University and is a expert in Art + Tech.Follow Madelaine D'Angelo on Twitter: @arthenaart