Scott Matyjazsek: Outside the Box

Scott Matyjazsek: Outside the Box

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matyjaszek-oct16In a previous lifetime, Scott Matyjaszek must have been a mathematician. In his breathtaking aluminum “digital paintings”, geometric skeletons are pushed, pulled, altered, layered and collaged. His 3-D Photo-Sculptures give the illusion of depth, with many layers of photographs cut, glued and put back together with mathematical precision. We found his creative process enlightening.

What is your background, and how did you wind up in the arts?
I thought music would be my life. Although I spent a lot of time drawing with pen & ink and colored pencils in my adolescence, I did not start producing more serious work in visual arts until my mid-thirties. I studied Audiovisual Technology at Monroe Community College in upstate New York, graduating in 1985 with honors. Before returning to college later in my life, I worked in the music industry for 20 years as both a musician and a sound technician.

portrait-2How did you make the transition from music to a career as a visual artist?
Once I grappled with my frustration with the music industry, I felt that going back to school and getting back into the visual arts as a graphic designer would free me from working for others and help me look to myself for my own success. My class projects became my first “works of art.” I forced myself to create “outside of the box”, simply because I was bored with some of the routine assignments. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of my career as an independent artist!

I was shooting projects for my photography class, and as more of my friends saw what I did, they bugged me (relentlessly!) to show my work publicly. I think when I finally succumbed, I did it to answer two questions. First: was there some quality I was missing when assessing my own work? And second: was this body of work “a face only a mother could love”? So I did my first local outdoor art show just to see if strangers’ reactions would match that of my friends. I made $600 at that show (which was $600 more than I thought I would make) and got my first big gallery show as a result.

qstrs-beforeandafterandwords-2You’ve become very well known for your compelling 3D photographic assemblages. How did they come about?
In the mid-eighties I started out as a photographer shooting “found” subject matter in the standard 2-D form. About 5 years later, I began to combine relief with my “flat” photographs. What makes my photography unique is that all of these works are executed in a technique I describe as 3-D Photo-Sculptures. First, the images are printed at least two or three times. Then, the photographs are hand-cut, layered and glued back together again to create depth. My photography has been called “painterly” in that it transcends the limitations of regular photography through the composition of color, texture, shape and design of objects in their natural state. Some images have been described as “urban landscapes” which, for example, transform what might be viewed as the dullest subjects imaginable — old walls — into an elegant composition. I find abstract beauty in mundane places, and my use of sumptuous, penetrating color turns the smallest images into urban spice boxes. My work has also been referred to as “trompe d’oeil.”

You’ve recently introduced a new body of work printed on metal plates. You must be excited and a little nervous. What is the process and how are people responding?
In 2015 I started to show a completely new media, digital creations on dye-infused aluminum. Although every abstract metal piece of art has a title that indicates my interpretation, I have found that each viewer brings his or her own unique vision to the image, much like the Rorschach (ink blot) test.

the-summitIt is difficult to answer the question “How do you do it?” Because I am using so many different techniques and tools in any one image, it would take several pages to answer. I can tell you, however, that everything is created in the digital domain. General techniques might include layering, collage, the distorting of shapes and colors as well as the alteration of geometric skeletons by pushing, pulling, prodding and multiplying their parts. Each piece is unique in its construction and approach. And no, I do not use Photoshop! When the image is complete, it is then rendered to our physical world by way of a dye-infused aluminum process. This particular process gives the image a gem-like quality, almost as though it were lit from within, much like light streaming through a stained glass window.

image descriptionWhat professional recognition have you received?
My work was exhibited at the 1985, 1988 and 1996 Regional Finger Lakes Exhibition at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York and was twice selected for the “Best of Photography Annual” sponsored by Photographer’s Forum Magazine. My photography has recently been featured in a gallery showing at the Bausch & Lomb facility in Rochester and at the 171 Cedar Arts Center in Corning, New York. Pieces also reside in a private collection owned by Corning Inc./SCC plant.

We are thrilled to provide Scott Matyjaszek with an enthusiastic audience for his ever-changing, innovative work here at Paradise City. He will show mostly 3-D Photo-Sculptures in Northampton and will concentrate on his new dye-infused aluminum work at the Marlborough show in November.