Sunday, September 13, 2009

illicit Art Attack #3 - Matt Cheney


Matt Cheney – The world’s most prolific self publicising artist you’ve never heard of.
Our previously featured Art Attack artists went about their art business the old fashioned way, by painting scenes of snowboarding from the comfort of their own home or studio. Matt Cheney does it differently. He takes his art into the hostile environment of the real world because he is an ‘action artist’.
What the hell is an action artist?

According to Wikipedia action painting was a style that was widespread from the 1940s until the early 1960s.
It appears to have evolved into a style of painting that was practiced in the late 70’s and early 80’s by beige-clad children...

So he’s a little behind the times which might explain why he is not doing all that well this century. Let’s see how Matt explains his style on the first of his web promotions – his website:

As an Action Artist, my art reflects the way I live: action, motion, and the movement of my body are important in the work I do. Accordingly, my process of painting is highly performative: “Pink on black”, was painted while skate boarding.

Performative? Has he just made up a word? At least he has compensated by making skateboarding into two words.
Skate Boarding

My sporting activities are often integrated into my work whether it is skydiving, snowboarding, skate boarding or simply a more mundane action.

A sport with a more mundane action. Look out for his solitaire inspired series in the near future.

In my most recent work I mix diverse elements: paints, video, performance, carpentry, environmental effects and sporting equipment. The subject matter in my work is often less important than the process.

There is subject matter?
Subject: Making a big fucking mess of everything.

Subject: Fear Induced Bowel Problems

If you want to be an artist and you have the handicap of not being able to draw anything this is isn’t a problem. By using jazzy colours or crazy techniques you can hide your lack of ability under a veneer of nonsense. So to finish off Matt launches into full-on art gibberish…

My subject matter is abstract expressionism. I am interested in exploring the legacy of Action Painters such as Jackson Pollock. By integrating sports that I love however, expressing myself becomes something uniquely different. I often do not know what the final results will be. My work is very conceptual, although I enjoy the challenge of making representational art. Because my work is process oriented, Jackson Pollock’s movement on canvas and Matthew Barney’s performance art have been influential in the development of my idea of making process based work.

I have as much passion in the sports I do as in my painting. Contrasting the performance art of Saburo Murakami, my work uses modern day sport, painting and media together. By creating action art I am unifying these passions while drawing attention to the excitement of movement.
What the hell is this guy talking about?

For reference Saburo Murakami is a man famous for walking through a wall of paper, Matthew Barney is famous for dressing like a goat and Pollock was of course the world's most famous alcohol related car crash victim.
Matt Cheney's Heroes - Not high up on most people's list.

Let’s take a look at one of Matt’s videos to see exactly how this action art stuff works...

“Hi this is Matt. This is a little bit of my work from eugh 6, eugh 7 and eugh 8”

I mentioned that we were looking at the first of his web promotions. Never has there been a more proficient Internet media whore than Matt Cheney. In a cursory investigation of the Internet I found 12 different websites he has been promoting himself through. Let’s take a look at some more of them.

Firstly it’s back to his own site where he lists his...

Awards & Recognition

2006 - Permanent collection at Art Institute Of Boston
(Matt studied at the Art Institute of Boston so I imagine this means his art is on the class room wall)

2007 - Documented in Pop culture, art since 1945, and post modern classes at the Art Institute of Boston
(And they have filed copies of his homework)

2008 - Shown often on Fuel TV for my action art

2009 - Back to work at McDonalds?

He has a blog. His first entry is:

First entry:


Reality TV called me; went to NYC to speak with producers. Felt it wasn’t the correct venue for my work.
Matt didn’t get through the audition

On another of his blog entries Matt proudly shows off a metal frame he found...

In a style that seems to be a regular oddity of the artists featured in Art Attack, he apparently has a question and answer session with himself at Fashion Office.

Q: How do the different sports influence your art work?

Matt: Due to the performance nature of my work; all my art captures a moment in time. Each sport requires that I find a unique creative line. Be it snowboarding, skydiving or skateboarding all express my two passions visual art as well as performance art.

Translation: Matt Cheney is neither a great snowboarder or a great artist but he has combined his two skills into one publicity vehicle

Look at me World!

He’s got a slot on the Trend Hunter website where he dropped this gem:

There comes a point in every artist’s life when ideas fill his head to the brim. Sometimes there’s just too much to express that the body feels like exploding.

Yeah, I had that problem when I was a teenager too.

This is Matt's Action Art face.

From his profile on YouTube

"By integrating sports that I love however, expressing myself becomes something uniquely different. I often do not know what the final results will be." Matt Cheney

You have to wander, if he did have an idea what it was going to look like when he's finished would he actually bother in the first place?

Fluorescent Orange on Stripes

Pink and Blue on Silver

Couldn't find the name of this one but I'm going to guess it's either:
'The affection, admiration, compassion, composure, courage, delight, excitement, fulfilment, gratefulness, harmony, intimacy, integrity, modesty, relaxation and the togetherness of lovers standing under the bountifully elegant and outstandingly vivacious tree of goodness, richness and enchantment'
'Purple and Green on White'

On Art Review he has this quote

“going 150mph while drewing mattcheney action artist”

This must be an attempt a Tweet while skydiving. Although maybe it just wasn’t his day because the art he came out with during his freefall was not all that great either…

This is a picture of an airplane.
This was painted by a grown man.

But Matt’s real forté is producing videos and uploading them everywhere he can. We’ve already seen one of his video mixes where we can see that Matt has tried painting while skydiving, BMXing, skateboarding and snowboarding. He is certainly a jack of all trade and master of none. Let’s take more of a look at the snowboarding ones.

A hand sliding painting. He takes two runs at it and then finishes. I can’t help thinking that he really needed to put a bit more effort in.

Here he is polluting the ski resort. The most impressive thing about this is that he seems to have convinced a ski resort to let him borrow a skidoo and a pistie beastie for this. I’m going to have to try my luck with that story next season.

And this is him snowboarding and he’s not bad. He’s a great exponent of the crazy flailing arm style. I guess he ended up adopting paint brushes as some kind of method to keep that under control and things just evolved from there.

He’s most notable for wearing pink trousers. Pink in a colour that should only be worn if you are a pro snowboarder, any less qualified than that and it just looks ridiculous. Good tip there for all non pro snowboarders contemplating what kit to buy this year.

I can’t help feeling that if he concentrated on one sport, or one website, or one type of painting he could get somewhere. He doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere fast with his shotgun approach to art.
Anyway if you need someone who’s good at setting up websites and who is a half-decent carpenter give Matt Cheney a shout.

If you need a nice bit of artwork keep looking

Check out our reviews of other famous snowboard artists:

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