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Friday, 8 June 2007

Interview with Matt Burlingame

a)Tell me something about yourself….What’s your background…?

a)I grew up in a small town in Michigan, where I went to Catholic school for eight years. Obviously, all of that churching up did little good. Later, I went to college where I got a degree in Telecommunications (to this day, I’m still not sure what that means.) I am essentially a self-taught artist, since I haven’t had an art class since High School.
I live a life of hedonistic leisure in Los Angeles, California.

q)When growing what was the greatest force pushing you towards art?

a)Boredom, I think. I grew up in Michigan, where it’s snowy and grey for about four months of the year, which forces you to stay inside. You have to do something to hold off madness, and since there is only so much T.V. you can watch, sometimes you’re forced to get creative.

q)Were you inspired/encouraged by any one person to pursue your craft?

a)My older sister Ann always was a big influence on me, turning me at a young age towards good music, film, and books. Later as I started making art, she would always tell me how great it was (even though it was probably pretty bad), and she still does to this day (even though it’s still probably pretty bad).

q)How would you describe your art to someone who could not see it?

a)A fan that found my art on-line described it better than I ever could. He said, ” Your stuff is twisted, creepy and swell. If I had to describe it, I'd say it's like Gumby and David Lynch meet the Quay brothers in the secret tunnels below the abandoned funhouse.” I’d say that sums it up.

q)Are certains colours,shapes that you’re drawn to?

a)I like them all, except for beige.




q)What other talent would you like most to have?

a)Besides safecracking and other cat burglary skills, I’d love to be able to play the electric guitar. Let’s face it, rockers get all the chicks. Sadly, I have absolutely no musical skills, and doubt I’ll develop them this late in the game.

q)What’s your favourite mediums to work in/on?

a)It’s a toss up between wood and clay.

q)What artists influence or have influenced you(these need not be visual artists)and how have they done so?

a)It’s funny, the big influences that come to mind are filmmakers. Perhaps that is my Los Angeles bias at work.
David Lynch’s film “Blue Velvet” blew my mind when I first saw it as a lad. Until seeing that film, I’d only been exposed to the mainstream movies from the Hollywood crap factory. It was a revelation. It’s hard to explain, but the film hinted at a different way to look at everyday things, and how what we think of as normal is only so because we want it to be.
Also, Terry Zwigoff’s documentary “Crumb”, about artist Robert Crumb was a big influence. It showed me that art takes a willingness to dig through the emotional sludge in your brain and the guts to put your crazy ideas on display for all to see.

q)What non-visual art interest you and does this have an impact on your art?
a)Music. It makes me whistle while I work.
Books. Good fiction pushes my mind in different directions, and fuels the brain in ways that “American Idol” cannot.



q)What do you think about artists using the Internet as a forum for sharing their work?

a)It’s amazing. People from all over the world have discovered my work, just by surfing around and somehow finding me on-line. It’s really great, getting a message from South America or Scotland or wherever, people telling you they like your work. It shrinks the world in a good way. It’s been a great way to connect with other artists, too.

q)What is your favourite toy,game or other artefact from your youth(and do you still own it)?

a)It was a little known toy called “Hugo, Man of 100 Faces”. He was a strange bald doll that came with all sorts of disguises (fake noses, scars, mustaches, wigs, etc.) that you could glue to his face, then later peel off and rearrange. He was very creepy. I believe he still lurks somewhere in my closet.

q)Got any new projects planned?

a)I always have new projects planned, but alas, it seems never enough time to get to them. In general, I’d like to go BIGGER with the work I make now, so I can add more and more detail.

q)What advice can you give to other artists to help them improve their chances of survival in this global village we call our home?

a)Do it because you love it and can’t stop. If you go into art looking for a big payday, chances are you’ll be very disappointed. Have patience and stick to your guns.



q)Favourite books/authors?
Denis Johnson’s “Jesus’ Son”, Ernest Hemingway’s short stories, William Gibson, Charles Bukowski, lots more stuff

q)Favourite music?
a)Radiohead, Damon Albarn, The Black Keys, PJ Harvey, lots more stuff

q)What do you fear most?

a)Sharks, Alzheimer’s disease, Dick Cheney .



q) Your contacts…

a)
http://www.mattburlingame.com
e-mail: matt@mattburlingame.com

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