Artist and Chester native Tom Matt literally brings the front pages
of The New York Times to life in his new show New York City at the
An ingenious concept that Matt has successfully
executed, the show consists of 15 views of the city-from the Brooklyn
Bridge to Saks Fifth Ave. to Ground Zero at Night-in which, after
choosing a city scene that visually excites him, he draws on the
newspaper of the day, on location, with pastels and pastel pens.
Some are drawn in traditional black, others in purple, blue, and
sienna, creating a whole different mood.
There are both large and small prints in the show,
which includes five original drawings.
Matt's drawing style has a 1930s/40s feel, giving
the work a sense of timelessness -'Snow Storm on the Lower West
Side' could easily be a scene from 50 years ago-even though the
series was all produced within the past year on current newspaper
The completed pieces are photographed and printed
on acid-free watercolor paper to keep them from yellowing or disintegrating
as newspaper typically does. They are then available as limited
Matt credits fellow artist Leif Nilsson of Chester
with connecting him with fine art printer Don Dressler of Glastonbury
Design, who reproduced Matt's images digitally with outstanding
resolution and clarity and then printed
them on the archival paper with a pigment ink that is expected to
last more than a century.
The project was inspired in the summer of 2000,
while Matt was sitting in a cafe on Manhattan's McDougal St. reading
The New York Times. While gazing out the window, he noticed a Thai
restaurant across the street and started
to sketch it on the front page of the paper. He liked the effect
and produced several more sketches of NYC street scenes on newspapers,
calling the series of cityscape drawings "New York on New York."
Matt, 35, is a graduate of Valley Regional High
School in Deep River. He says his parents, John and Mary, both artists
who continue to live in Chester, exposed him to many forms of artistic
expression, both visual and
musical, throughout his childhood.
Matt is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts,
NY. He also attended the School of Fine Arts at Boston University,
and the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, CT. He lived and
traveled in Mexico and Europe for several years, working with charitable
organizations, and is now a resident of NYC.
Matt explains that the cityscape New York City project
sprang out of several overlapping interests of his: drawing, typography,
and the infinite number of dynamic views that NYC has to offer.
"The WTC tragedy intensified this love and
heightened my appreciation for those small unique characteristics
of the city often taken for granted," he says. "Flags,
lamp posts, water towers, ornate detailing, fire escapes, street
lights, signage, the ordinary bystander and rushing tourists on
sidewalks and busy streets. I am constantly intrigued by the way
these intricacies weave into the dynamic architectural perspectives
that define the grandeur of New York."
Jack and Sosse Baker, owners of the Chester Gallery,
say of Matt's work: "He captures the essence of New York City
in this exhibit. And the concept of drawing on paper is quite wonderful."
Matt has already sold more than 50 limited edition
numbered prints and hopes to continue the series for years. New
Yorkers continually ask him if he's drawn other icons of the city,
such as the Upper West Side, Lower East Side,
Central Park-or whatever neighborhood they happen to live in.
He can see the concept lending itself to other major
cities in the U.S. and abroad, using local city newspapers.
"The process that has evolved for me in creating
each city scene is spontaneous, unpredictable, challenging, and
stimulating," Matt says.
Tom Matt's show, will be on exhibit at the Chester
Gallery, 76 Main St., Chester, through Feb. 1.
For more information, call 860-526-9822.