Thursday, June 28, 2012

Matti Paints - Subject Love

Sometimes a picture says a thousand words, so I'm going to let this one speak for itself.
Lets celebrate love everybody!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Matti Paints - Subject Jackie

When painting Jackie I was up against a unique nemesis: exhaustion.
When I traveled to North Bay I did most of these canvases in one day.
Katie in the morning, Brea and Mandy in the afternoon, and I didn't get to my next paintings until after I'd gone and met Jackie, Nate and Heather at the bar. We didn't get back until my place until two and considering each painting takes about two hours it was pushing 3-4 by the time I even got to begin Jackie's painting. Initially I was afraid this would impact the painting, and to an extent it did, but the biggest impact it had was on the photograph!
I was lucky with Nate and Heather because it was Jackie who was there to oversee everything.
With Jackie, the photo responsibility was on my shoulders and as a result, I ended up with many, many blurry photos.
However, if there's one person who can still look pretty in a blurry shot it's Jackie. Her heart shines through everything she does.
I'm happy with how her paint job turned out. It reminds me of some sort of Celtic fairy.
I wish I could've got a better shot to truly do her and the paint job justice, but despite the troubles I'm glad it turned out as well as it did. Jackie is a true friend and will always shine on in my heart. I think she looks beautiful and am very happy that she decided to be a part of this project.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Matti Paints - Revisiting Shannon and Hayley

So in retrospect there have been a few pictures that I haven't been 100% behind. There were times when I let the pictures be guided by the group instead of taking a stand as an artist and picking what I thought was best for the piece.
One of these pieces was Shannon and Hayley. While I think that Hayley turned out beautiful, I never really thought that the picture did Shannon the justice she deserves.
In a cabaret we sang "Me Party" together (yes, the one from the Muppet movie) and I just figured it would be nice to find a photo from the collection that really did her justice.
Now that I've found it, I'll be replacing the previous photo with this one.
 If you girls don't like it, TOO BAD! You both look fantastic and the artwork looks fine too.

Matti Paints - Subjects Heather and Nate

The next canvas came as an incredible surprise to me, but one I was incredibly thankful for.
I was six when I first moved to North Bay in balmy summer of 1993 and the first boy my age I met was Nate. He liked dinosaurs. I liked dinosaurs. A friendship was born.
Pictured: Friendship
Nate was my best friend for many years. We went to school together, we hung out together. There were good times. There were bad times. But the world kept turning regardless and we both grew up. We went to different high schools and because of this our friendship after grade 8 almost evaporated. We didn't really keep contact with each other and we began to run in different circles. As a result we became the people we are today (as is so often the case). But because of this, I always felt that there was some kind of unfinished business that we never really got to get any kind of closure on. Sometimes a friendship just stagnates and after a while you just sort of... forget about it.
This was our fourth attempt at a picture.
Meeting Nathan and his sister Heather at the bar was a great opportunity for me, not just to add to my canvas collection, but to reconnect with them. These were the people I grew up with after all!
Heather has certainly changed a lot since I last saw her. She's quite ambitious and she's planning a rather amazing project that I think you all should check out HERE!

The painting process started in a similar way to the others. They each picked out their songs and colours and then we got down to work. Funny enough they each chose "Strange Days" by Matthew Good Band, which is an AMAZING song of course, but I can't help but wonder if they were commenting on something... Perhaps the strangeness of the coincidence that we were all in town. Perhaps it was just life in general. Whatever it was, it was pretty great.

The first time I sat in front of Nathan and began to paint I felt a well of emotion which hadn't happened before. Nathan is for all intents and purposes my oldest friend, and as a result the process was almost surreal. There were moments I felt that no time had passed, and there were moments where it seems like several eternities ago. The feeling of painting Heather was equally strange and surreal. Here was someone I grew up with but at this point I no almost nothing about her. Now, I feel like I've at least got to begin to reestablish a connection with these two who I was once so close with.

Now something that they might not realize right away, and perhaps I shouldn't mention it, but for the first time the picture we chose together as a group is not the picture I'm going with for the collection. I actually went and changed the picture to the second choice because it really shows off who they are. It shows their relationship to each other in a unique way, and it has a sense of fun that wasn't present in the other one. Does this make me a bad artist? Probably. But no one can argue the fantastic results!

I am currently looking for new canvases! To be a part of this project, click HERE to contact me. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Matti Paints - Subject Brea and Mandy

I'm pairing up the next two for one very good reason. They were awesome.
That's not the total reason but I swear they go together.
When I went to North Bay, once I finished on Caity, I walked over to visit my friend Cayla at the Kennedy gallery, which is one of the main galleries in North Bay. While there I met Alex who suggested that I do a live showing of the art for people to walk by and see.
So like any other insane artist I said of course.
BIG THANK YOU to Brea and Mandy for doing this for me. It's scary for people, especially beautiful girls, to take their clothes off in public. But they seemed ok with it, so that's the important thing. In a weird way this experience was my first time showing off my art to the entire public. Mind you it was a busy time of day in North Bay so "the public" ended up being about three or four very confused elderly people, but they seemed to enjoy it.
That being said, I've managed to create some of my best art so far!
To start with, we had Brea as our lovely voluntold. She almost willingly let me paint her, which is great progress!
I kid. She was awesome.
We'd never met before but she seemed to enjoy my paintings right off the bat so that was great news! 
Some interesting things happened with Brea. First off she was right at home in top 40 which we all know I tend to listen to. But when I started painting I began with a dark base, literally begining the painting by painting her black. Not my typical standard thing to do but it paid off! I don't think I'd do it again because the black ended up fading everything slightly, but in the end the paintings did great things!
 Mandy and I have a long history so I was super happy to paint her as my second canvas. While Brea ended up taking on a cat-like theme Mandy ended up with more of a bird-like theme. Her colouring lended more towards bird-dom so I went with it.
In the end we had a great time. Mandy is hilarious and I love her dearly. We had a great time catching up on old times and talking about old teachers. We used to be neighbours... and come to think of it she still has my Firefly and my copy of Dark Cloud 2...
Mandy! I thought we were friends!

I'm very happy with both of these canvases. I think it's a bit funny how my line work tended to dominate my canvases in North Bay which is something I found in Caity, as well as my future canvases you haven't seen yet. I'm not sure if that's a subconscious geographical thing or just my mind being crazy, but either way it's nice to see how they're coming out.
Both of my canvases were gorgeous volunteers and I greatly enjoyed the experience of painting you! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Matti Paints - Subject Caity

To say my trip to North Bay was a bit of a roller coaster would be a major under exaggeration.
I arrived on the bus to good weather. My sleep was good. Did a lot of writing. It was starting well.
I'd long made it clear that I intended to carry over my project not just to the city of Toronto but since I began I realized it would most likely spill over into every where I go form now on.
So I made an announcement on book-face and ended up with a varied collection of girls who wanted to be a part of it, so I wasted now time and began the next morning.
The adventure began with Caity.
 Thanks to Caity I managed to have many shows in North Bay. She served as my loyal stage manager and I eagerly await the day she moves to Toronto so that I know that I'll have someone who knows how to keep me on track and handle the chaos that inevitably comes through in these situations. 
Painting her was a nice experience. There's a lot of love between us and I feel like it came out right from the beginning. She chose a very soft palate which I think elevated the piece in a nice way and complimented who I know her to be. Soft with an edge.
Also noted that our musical tastes are fairly similar.

so apparently this was the colour of her childhood bedroom walls.
 As I began to paint her I began to get a sense of play out of her. I wanted to show her playful attitude sides and really compliment how she is as a person. I put down a base fairly quickly and ended up working with a lot of details. Certain features I really wanted to pop so I added things like the Van Gogh inspired lines, and the pseudo tribal patterns on her arms and face.

This was my first time doing this in somewhere other than my living room. Fortunately the process proved to be just as easy to do elsewhere which was a relief.  The result is the picture ends up being quite different as well, but it worked on a rather exceptional level. I like to think that I got to capture how much Caity has been an impact and a treasure in my life.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I'm shocked.
I guess I always assumed you'd be there.
We were never close but we were friendly, and sometimes that's enough.
I liked you.
I admired you.
Your laugh was effortless and contagious.
And now it's gone.
Life is random,
Crazy, chaos, cruel.
You were young but old beyond your years.
Wisdom and wit with humour and graciousness.
Although our time was short, you left your mark.
Now I struggle with the terms.
What? How? Why?
I realize the questions are empty echoes of what I really want to say.
The thought that most of the world didn't know you is a loss.
You deserved the world, but were too good for it.
So you leave the rest of us behind and continue on your way.
Past the finish line first.
I wish I knew what to say.
I regret that I didn't make more time for you.
I don't regret the days we did spend together.
You will never be forgotten.
You will be missed.
And you will always be loved.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Matti Paints - Subjects Libby and Cassie

Libby and Cassie are a pair of friends from North Bay that I had the privilege of growing up with.

Cassie is and always will be the most ridiculously photogenic person I know, and Libby and I hung out almost every day through our high school experience. (Banner! What? it's a newspaper thing... anyway)
The process this time was fairly simple.
Painting two people proves to be a challenge in the most obvious way because of time. There is SO MUCH work to do in such a small amount of time that duets almost always end up being less refined than full body counter parts.
That being said, I was able to do some very interesting things on Libby and Cass. I really love how Libby ended up almost Picasso-esque, especially with the black outline around what looks like fingers along the neck. Cass on the other hand looks much more impish, and the green blotch on her chest reminded me of a quill so I tried to paint her as a creator.

Can you guess who chose what song?
It has to be said that Cass is the first person who had some difficultly finding a selection of songs. I just don't have that much heavy stuff. Always fun. 
So this is my interpretation of my friends  - enjoy!  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Matti Paints - Subject Alex

This is Alex.
We met at the coffee shop and in the short time I've got to know him, I have to say there is something very special about him.
He's very talkative, so one of the things I found so odd about this experience was he was quiet. Silent. Songs would pass and we wouldn't say a word. This was something that I was initially confused by, but the more time passed the more I hoped he was simply absorbing the experience. He's a very hard one to read, but I like to think that he enjoyed the experience. I hope he did. I don't know.
Many of Alex's songs were songs of longing or thankfulness. It was a very heavy playlist so I'm wondering if that played a part in it.
The strange thing was his colour choices were so vibrant and bold that the somberness almost flies in the face of them. It's a case of DESPITE the colours and the actions, the piece somehow still carries a feeling of sadness to it.
Or maybe the feeling is hope. Hope for what exactly I'm not sure, but there is a strange optimism to it as well.

Pictured: Moroseness
Funny how on this piece I'm really focusing on the outcome. The journey itself was a good one, and the end result was fun, but it's just a strange thought to think of how different the outcome was compared to what I was expecting.
To find out how to become a part of this project please contact me: HERE

Matti Paints- Subject Lacey

So today started out with a dear friend of mine, Lacey.
Like Kevin, Vera, Chris and Nathan, I also met Lacey at Statlers where we would drink and do songs at the musical theatre open mike night they do every Monday. We met when I sat down with her and Vera and complimented her singing. As time went on we became quite close and after much peer pressure from everyone else who'd done it, she finally agreed to become my canvas.
I'm noticing a theme with colour choices lately. Everyone wants green, purple and orange. I mean really people? What is it with these colour combos that everyone wants to be a part of it? It's crazy!
*end of vent*
That being said, Lacey ended up very interesting. Up until song seven the painting was going one way, and then in the last three it took a wild, radical turn and went somewhere completely different. It was a neat turn that I didn't see coming.
Her song choices were very much "A". Lots of Adele- interesting to note that she was the only person who picked more than one song by the same artist. I found that interesting.
Overall, Lacey was a very easy canvas to work with. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Matti Paints - Pain

I was debating for a long time whether or not to post this one but I think it's best to share.
A couple weeks ago my friend lost her grandfather and mother and while I can't be with her now, I wanted to help her in some way. I really didn't know what to do so I wanted to capture the emotion on myself and hope that in some way that would be of some use. I don't know. I'm hoping the thought that I did this will help in some way.
I hope this helps you out. XOXOX

I had to paint it entirely mirrored in my laptop so it was definitely a challenge. I used water colours because I wanted to painting to look like it was crying. It was an extremely hard process to do, and was extremely somber. 

The playlist
The best thing about this is that it was watercolour so when I went to wash it off, it signified that the pain leaves. I wanted to show myself as fresh and clean, but I quickly found out that watercolour stains the skin more-so than acrylic paint. Strange how that happens sometimes. The reality of situations is they stay with you, implanted on your skin, but they fade and things get easier.

I planted a rose
And then I watched it blossom
And it stayed with me

Matti Paints - Subject Nathan

Painting Nathan was a challenge.
I'm really enjoying this process because a) the people who agree to do it are usually exactly the kind of people I want to surround myself with, and b) I get to create some of the most interesting and dynamic art I've had the privilege of creating.
Nathan is someone who I don't know well. Or at least I didn't when I began the process. We met outside of a bar and a friend who I'd painted previously CHRIS, was kind enough to introduce us. As a result Nathan inquired about the project and since I'm at a bit of a stall in terms of my number of canvases, I agreed.
I've determined the people who are willing to do this project are the people I want in my life. I think that just needs to be pointed out.
Several challenges were presented here. The most obvious being that Nathan is a very hairy guy. Body hair is the enemy of this project. It sucks up paint, makes smooth strokes almost impossible and is unpredictable in how it will dry and whether or not it will let the paint sit on the body how I want it too. It's annoying. That being said its workable, and I managed to tame the wild fields of follicles without too much hassle.
His song choices.
Song 1
The other major challenge was his colour choices. Once again I encountered tertiary colours in a near perfect combination of orange, purple and Kermit green.  Then there was the blue, which was a comfortable zone for me and he chose white as his shade which was good because without those two colours to balance it out, I'm not sure I would've been able to do it.
I love seeing peoples colour choices as it always reflects into their character. that combined with the music are really the only hints I get to a persons personality before I start. Letting each song be a surprise lends us both a level of surprise that always shows through in unique and fun ways in the paint.
I did find myself experimenting more with designs this time. I had a recurring theme with peacock feathers that even though it doesn't quite show off in the final picture were a good challenge for me to pursue. I've always loved their designs and I've never been able to perfect them, but the challenge of working with them was a good experience. I think they fit well with his personality. Confident yet playful.
I really enjoyed Nathans company. I think that I've made a great friend in him, and to discover such similar christian upbringings was refreshing. It seems there's a lot to bond over in this situations, so being able to just spend time with someone and paint them was a good experience to get back to.
To be a part of this human canvas project just let me know : EMAIL
Presenting Nathan:

Monday, June 4, 2012

CD Review: Maria Mena "Viktoria"

If there is one artist who I hold in higher reverence than Marit Larsen, it would be Maria Mena. Though I have not been with her through her entire career, I have to say that my time with her had greatly impacted my life and that her music has helped me through some of the hardest days I've had thus far. Her voice is equal parts haunting and evoking and whenever she sings, it resonates on the deepest levels of my soul. 
(On a personal note, Maria responded to one of my tweets when my dog was put down so she will always hold a special place in my heart. I wont let that effect my judgement of her cd, but I felt it was worth mentioning) 

"Viktoria" as a whole is a strong album. Her voice is as haunting as ever and her songs carry all the emotional punch of her previous albums. In the grand scheme of things it is not as strong as "Apparently Unaffected", but on the positive side of things she seems to have worked out a lot of her issues that have accompanied her previous albums, and made a lot of her last album, "Cause and Effect" hard to listen to. 
The standout tracks on the album are the first two tracks; the title track "Viktoria", and the amazing "Homeless". Both let Maria do what she does best. Sing emotional songs that pack a punch in a way that only her unique vibrato can. The songs are reminiscent of some of her most brilliant work to date and are certainly the most commercial sounding on the album. 
One thing that always seems to be the case with Maria is that her albums tend to feature a couple stand out songs that everyone can appreciate and a few deeper songs that require a careful ear and an appreciation of subtle changes in music. In this album this appears to be the case once again as most of her songs on the album are not easy listens, and will often require a bit of time to really get into. On this album songs like "My Heart Still Beats", "Takes One to Know One", "Secrets" and "This Too Shall Pass" often take too long to get to the payout and rely too much on the lyrics. This is not a bad thing, but often they feel underwhelming and often end up being the ones most likely to be skipped on the album. That being said "This Too Shall Pass" also features some of the best lyrics and one of the most encouraging lyrics on the entire album, which keeps it from being monotonous. 
Maria's real strength lies in her lyrics. Her lyrics carry a heavy weight to them that latches onto your heart and refuses to let go. This is especially apparent in her song "Habits" which features Mads Langer in a beautiful duet that really stands out. The lyrics convey a heavy emotional poetry that stands out, especially compared to the onslaught of simple pop songs that lack both weight and depth. The song itself almost serves as a counterpoint to the equally excellent "It Took Me By Surprise" which manages to avoid the monotony trap by building to a catchy and exciting chorus that takes you by surprise.
However there are a couple songs on the album that fail to live up to the others. From "Am I Supposed to Apologize?" and "Money" it quickly becomes clear that Maria Mena still has some issues that she needs to let out. On the bright side, it does appear that this is now the exception. My biggest complaint with her previous album "Cause and Effect" was the over abundance of her issues on the album. I think that airing out your issues with family and lovers can be great motivation for song writing, but when the venom is so blatantly obvious it can make the song uncomfortable to listen to. Now, thankfully, none of these songs really impact in the uncomfortable way that some of her previous work like "Dear _____" and especially "Power Trip Ballad", but there are still hints of them throughout the album. I look forward to the day when Maria can finally leave her past behind her and put her amazing talents to further use. 
Overall, Viktoria is a perfect next step for her. While it is unlikely to become a major hit on this side of the Atlantic, I do hope that it will net her quite a few new fans (or at least enough to get her over here for a spell. Am I right people?) I can't wait to see where she goes from here, but you can bet I'll be listening with whatever it is.