The Coachella Valley Art Scene is excited to present our next solo exhibition featuring the works of fabric and graphic design artist, Matthew Nelson.
Nelson is a musician and visual artist originally from Virginia who currently resides in Palm Springs.  This will be his debut art exhibit in California.
Come visit Matthew’s body of work this Saturday at the Opening Reception from 6:00pm – 10:00pm.  All work will be available for viewing online the following week.
We’ll see you at the show!
RSVP online by clicking HERE.
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the coachella valley art scene
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Who are you?  
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An artist who has done a lot of still life, model drawings, painting, printmaking, fabric art, graphic design, and computer drawing. What is down the road?  Maybe a combination of the computer drawings done in fabric.
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Where are you originally from?  How do you think that influences your work?
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I was born on June 21, 1972. I grew up in Arlington Virginia until I was 18. We stayed in one house, and my parents still live live there. I have an older sister and a younger brother. My parents encouraged me to do what I wanted to do. They also taught me to not follow the crowd, and to question everything.
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Tell us about your early punk days.  Bands you were in, music scene, etc…
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I was a normal kid of the seventies, into Star Wars and The Dukes of Hazzard and Van Halen. In the 8th grade I saw the movie “Repo Man”. It had punk rock kids and music by The Circle Jerks, Black Flag and Iggy Pop. I liked the music and wanted to be one of them.
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My parents got me a drum set, with the deal that I study and take lessons. I did, I loved music. My first band was called “MOM” with brothers Tim and Pat Crean. Pat went on to play guitar with The Goons. We were fast hardcore. We wanted to be like Minor Threat, Faith and Scream. I played in a 10 piece ska band in high school called “Ska-tah”, which means shit in Greek.  Then I did another hardcore band called “GOD”.
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How/When did you get into art?  
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I have been drawing my whole life. My first artist moment was in elementary school. I was drawing these colorful imaginary bugs and cutting them out. Some kids saw them and asked me to make ones for them. I took special classes and did special art programs in high school.
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matthew nelson fabric artist
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Did you attend art school?
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I went off to art school. Virginia commonwealth university in Richmond, Virginia.  1990-94. I got a BFA in painting and printmaking. I did a lot of oil painting and lithography, etching, and screen printing.
I returned to school again in 2003 and got an associates degree in graphic design and joined the digital age.
During college I started playing drums with a band called Fulflej. We played a club one night and D’arcy from the Smashing Pumpkins saw us. She was starting a record label with James Iha. We signed up with them and recorded a full album of music. We went on the road and toured around.  We even got to open for Smashing pumpkins for two shows!  We got to play the SXSW festival in Austin.
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matthew nelson fabric artist
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What lead to you start working with fabric?
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After art school, I was working and lived in a small apartment. Oil painting is smelly and very dirty. I had taken a class on american folk art and loved it. My mom’s mom did a lot of fabric work. She had a loom and made really cool rag rugs. I started with dolls first. I then switched to flat panels. The process developed and felt like cutting the big shapes of color and drawing the detail lines in thread.
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How do you balance being a stay at home dad and making art?  How does it influence your work?
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When my son was born I had to make choices about what I would do with the little free time I had. I decided to put art and music on hold. I used my free time to get out and ride bicycles. I was the right thing. Good stress relief, exercise and some time alone. That lasted 3 years. When our son was three he started pre-school. It was the first time I was not watching him all day. I got back into art at that point. I have not gotten back to music yet.
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matthew nelson
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Tell us a little about the process of making art on your iPad.
When I started doing art again I thought about doing fabric, but was feeling like I was going to repeat myself. I found the app Adobe Ideas. It is a dumbed-down version of Illustrator for IPads. It makes vector art, it gives you layers, and you can drop photos into it. All the pieces in the show I drew with my finger. I just recently started using a stylus.
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What’s your take on technology influencing art?  Where do you see it going?
I believe in technology.  My opinion is, it does not matter what you make the art with, or how you do it. I look at the final product. I am glad I had all the experiences I have had. They make me me!
I don’t think it is necessary for kids now to go and draw with pencils and paper. Kids of today my never draw on paper. We keep moving forward. It would be like saying I need to go paint on a cave wall to get it. We make art, we get new tools as we go along.
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matthew nelson artist
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How do you get in your “zone”?  Any rituals?  What music is playing in background? 
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Lots of times ideas just pop in my head. Other times I see something in life that becomes an art piece. Sometimes a song will inspire my art.
I have started meditating.  That is good for letting ideas flow.
Nowadays I listen to a bit of everything: Django Reinhardt, Fela Kuti, Dillinger (Jamaica), the Slackers, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, El Gran Silencio, Los Miticos del Ritmo, Mexican Institute of Sound,
Inspector, Panteon Rococo, the Clash, Off!….
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What other hobbies/activities do you like to do outside of making art?
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I like studying languages. I am almost fluent in Spanish. I have been studying Mandarin Chinese for about a year. I like hiking and swimming. I nerd out playing chess.
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Where does your dark humor come from??
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I see myself as a really happy positive person.  Most of the time my art reflects that. Sometimes I will do a piece about the negative sides of life like hate, violence and prejudice. I try to show how stupid these things are, and maybe wake someone up with a little humorous jab at something.
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What inspires you on the daily?
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The love of my family!!  My friends, my dog, all animals, the sky, a sunset, rain, Andy Warhol,
Gary Baseman, quantum physics and the idea that we create our reality with our thoughts,
John Kehoe, law of attraction, Big Youth (Jamaica), Linval Thompson, and Mudhoney.
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matthew nelson fabric artist
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See Matthew Nelson’s art show in person this Saturday at the Opening Reception:
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