Local artist Matthew Shelton paints for himself.
“I’ve always maintained the attitude that this is merely something that I do for me,” he said. “If people want to join the journey with me then that’s cool. If they don’t, that’s ok too.”
People are joining, and they are impressed with the pieces he is displaying locally, including at Fetta, Sassafras, The Spot and Niko’s Bakery. His work has also been part of juried exhibits in the area and he has won several awards, including an honorable mention in a juried exhibit at the beginning of November.
Shelton has lived in New York and California, where he has also been published in Corbeaux magazine which is based in Los Angeles. He is from Hopkinsville and came to Owensboro for alcohol treatment. After completing treatment, he decided to stay.
He has worked various engineering jobs, which he said are to pay the bills so he can create the work he is most passionate about in his home studio he shares with his girlfriend and fellow artist. Both of their artwork and photographs line the walls of their studio.
Fellow artists and photographers also create work in their studio, including photo campaigns and body art, and other local artists’ pieces are also featured on their walls.
“I’m not highly impressed with the local art scene honestly,” he said. “There are a few artists who I absolutely adore. However, I don’t think that too many people take real chances and really push anything other than what they think will sell.”
It is the combination of taking chances and wanting to do “the exact opposite of what everyone else is doing” that appeals to Shelton. And it’s what makes his art, created under his Neon NoseBleeds Studio, unique.
“I honestly don’t know what you call it,” Shelton said. He paints on a table covered with paint from previous work. Sometimes his paintings are created laying flat on the table, like when he is creating shapes and textures; and some are created leaning against the kitchen cabinets.
Shelton said his style changes monthly and he doesn’t stick to one style for too long.
“I do numerous mediums: photography, canvas painting, murals, sculpture and body paint sessions as well – for the courageous,” he said.
Dabbling in art since he was a child, Shelton said he started sketching for classmates and selling them for money or candy. Remaining self-taught, he started with traditional areas of art. But after 25 years it didn’t satisfy him, so 6 years ago he got serious about developing his own style.
“There deserves to be a market for the underground arts and the things that appeal to the people who can’t find what they are looking for elsewhere,” he said. “Not everyone wants a landscape or a tepid lifeless celebrity portrait on their walls. Some people want something off and unnerving and filled with emotion. I’m here to fill that need.”
Studio 105 has been supportive of Shelton, often buying his pieces for its gallery, which Shelton said is another place people can see his work.
Shelton does not do commissioned pieces and rarely does he plan for the final product. His pieces are interpreted by the viewers’ own understanding and perspective.
“I am merely the conduit, not the definer,” he said.
Shelton continues to fulfill his need for personal growth and happiness through painting.
“I’ve always had a strict ‘If you like it, that’s great. If not, that’s ok too.’ attitude,” he said. “I’ve found that when I start to view art and expression as work then I start to resent it. I’d rather not lose my love for it by chasing a few spare dollars.”
Shelton’s work can be viewed on Instagram and Facebook, where he can also be contacted.