MATT DUKE

is a visual artist currently living in Winter Park, FL by way of Brooklyn and Philadelphia.  His work in watercolor and pen challenges the idea of perspective vs. reality.  You are invited to view each piece by allowing your mind interpret the multitude of shapes and colors.  Like life there are many layers and each individual is left with a different experience.

I’ve always had super high, almost unrealistic expectations for myself. When I was in the 2nd grade our class was told to draw pictures. Our medium was pastel and our influence VanGogh. When it was time to start I had no idea what to draw. The kid next to me was drawing a boat on a dock and rather than waiting for inspiration to hit me I decided to draw a boat on a dock too. I stole his idea. My picture was chosen to hang in the fashion square(?) mall with a few selected others. I remember going to visit the mall with Mom and Sister to see my picture. The whole ordeal was bittersweet. It felt good that someone recognized what I had done but I felt sick that I had borrowed this kids idea. I felt like a fraud. This may seem like an overreaction but it’s how I’ve spent most of my life thinking. Feeling guilty about about my unoriginal art I told myself that I could not and would not draw and that was that. At 6 or 7 years old I decided to never draw again.

FFWD 20 years: I was sitting with Lisa in our North Philly loft looking out the window at a brick wall and felt moved to draw it(with crayon). We were living around all sorts of artistic people and I felt comfortable and inspired. I’ve spent the past years developing my skill but until recently have kept it a secret. I have struggled with confidence and this damning view of myself. I am still my harshest critic but have seen the benefit of not over-thinking, self worth, and sharing my creations. Opening up is freeing and has helped my growth as a human being. Sharing my work and feeling vulnerable has enabled me see the human experienced in a whole new light and I love it. - Matt Duke