If you think of watercolours as a weekend pastime for geriatric dandies or the novelty pursuit of wealthy ladies that lunch then think again. Californian artist Matthew Palladino is breathing much-needed life into this long overlooked medium. Where once there were subdued colour palettes and picturesque landscapes, Matthew has created luminous abstracts of gradient colour and richly detailed representations of strange and exotic fabrics. The scale at which he produces these works is also a far cry from the miniature watercolours of old, each one created on an enormous sheet of paper.
Based in New York by way of Philadelphia and San Francisco, Matthew has been producing work professionally for the past six years while he’s migrated cross-country. In that time he’s also been experimenting with a variety of 3D media, including plaster casts and moulds. Finished with highly saturated enamel paint, these pieces are equally striking, forming strange dioramas of often surreal and always humorous ideas and character-free narratives.
Needless to say we had to contact Matthew to find out more…
Where do you work?
I’m currently working out of my apartment in Ridgewood, New York City. I moved here from Philadelphia in May where I had a cheap little commercial space studio that was attached to my apartment. I’m still settling here in New York and on the hunt for a good studio space I can afford.
How does your working day start?
I usually start my day with a cup of coffee and a cigarette, check my email then put on a podcast and start working.
How do you work and how has that changed?
When I’m working towards a deadline, I treat it like a full time job – usually around 40 hours a week. But as that deadline comes closer it gets a little crazy as there never seems to be enough time. Then it can can end up turning into 70 hour weeks, which can be not only mentally but physically brutal.
Since moving to NYC, because of the expensive jump from Philly, I’ve had to balance my work with other freelance jobs to pay the rent. But that seems to be a pretty standard thing that artists do to get by out here.
Where would we find you when you’re not at work?
Hmmm. I’m usually working. Otherwise you can probably find me on the couch. My girlfriend forces me to get out of the house and actually do things and I have to remind myself that I’m in NYC now and should be taking advantage of all this city has to offer. There’s a lot of beautiful cemeteries around where I live now – those are nice.
Would you intern for yourself?
Maybe. Does it pay?