Bobby Mathieson captures historically or culturally significant moments in his work, and expands on the emotional content through his paintings and imagery through the use of vibrant shocking color and form. He studied at Emily Carr Institute of Fine Art and Design in Vancouver before moving back to his hometown of Toronto.
How and when did you know you wanted to start your art career?
I’ve always been an artist but I guess when I started to attend classes at the AGO at age 10, I truly knew that this was my calling.
Did you attend school?
Yes I attended Capilano University and Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design… (briefly)
Did you have a mentor?
My mother Margaret Mathieson.
What is your favorite media and surface?
Oil on wood / Masonite panel.
What is your source of inspiration?
My source material varies in-between the Internet (e.g. YouTube), books, album covers, music and television.
What are your favorite themes?
Pop culture with a healthy daub of the sinister…
What does your art work mean to you?
I find my work more and more these days as a visual fan letter to whoever is on my radar, e.g. MFDoom has been showing up in my work a lot lately.
Do you have an overall style and aesthetic for your art?
The work has a consistent painterly, energetic rhythm to it that has vibrant and punchy colors, but in the same breath has a lot of grime. Basically I feel the work lies in a realm between life and death.
How would you describe your creative process?
Automatic, controlled chaos, and confidant.
Is there a message that you wish to communicate with your art?
I paint firstly and most importantly for myself. And I like to leave the viewer to reflect and question without much pre tense.
Who are your favorite artists?
Peter Doig, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Cecily Brown, Frank Miller, Mobius, to name a few…
What would you ask yourself that we haven’t asked you in this interview?
How have your life experiences shaped the content of your work?
The events of my adult life up until a few years ago were sorted and difficult. I was a victim of a drunk driver that left me with a long recovery process that lead me down a dark path. Often the subjects in my paintings are people who have had to deal with trauma and personal tragedy, e.g. Ernest Hemingway or Charlie Parker, some make it and some don’t… I made it…but I will always feel connected to the victim I guess…