Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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Matthew Ryan Herget
Thank You Kindly, 2016
Oil and Spray Paint on Canvas
30 x 48 in.
RAMOS: Hi Matthew
thank you for joining us again
i am excited to catch up
HERGET: Hell yeah I've been pumped for this
Thanks for having me again : )
RAMOS: you recently had a show in NY
at Context Art
and your paintings have truly evolved
HERGET: Yes ma'am with Mugello Contemporary
Yeah it's been kinda crazy in my studio
RAMOS: i love the simplicity and intensity of "thank you kindly"
and the playfulness of "pure power don't power trip"
HERGET: Yes! Thank you. Those are the last two pieces that were completed for the show.
pure power don't power trip is one of my favorite pieces ever ever ever
RAMOS: i can see it in the piece
i wanted to discuss two other pieces because i think they speak about a larger movement or trend that makes me very curious
"positive thought impulse"
there's a fairly simple story regarding that
When I first saw Banksy do that back when I was in high school, I was blown away. I love the visual of taking something that you know was done with great control and reserve (like a simple flower or landscape painting) and then giving it your own touch. I love the metaphor of it all, and aesthetically, it's one of my favorite things actually.
I had a float tank session the other week and basically it told me to stop being so afraid to play more where deep down you really want to play, so I said fuck it, I gotta do this how I would want it done
and I'm sure there are others but personally I had not seen this before.
Matty dips existing paintings in paint and calls it his own and I find that fascinating.
do you feel like these paintings over existing paintings are yours?
HERGET: Ha it's so funny that we're in this conversation already
I've been talking about this all week
And have lost friends over it lolllllll
you wont' loose me over it
i dont' have an opinion one way or another
i'm just curious
HERGET: Maybe this is a better way to answer. I don't have the attachment to them that I have to something that I started from start to finish
I don't love it any less though
A lot of people have done it. It's not really a new thing but I like the metaphor of it because basically every painting is a new idea over an older idea to simplify it
Early cave painters took God's creations and put their own spin on them ha
What's the difference between doing it literally with an old painting and painting over it
Check out Oliver Jeffers. He's been doing that stuff forever
RAMOS: so how would you feel if i took one of your paintings
and dipped it in paint
and sold it at a higher price
HERGET: As long as you didn't steal it out of my studio I would honestly have a humble laugh over it
I'm not quite sure though but Oliver Jeffers may paint everything from the beginning. Not sure
Ah yeah he does for sure
RAMOS: maybe Matty Mo does as well
how do you know?
HERGET: Well I know him personally
I don't think it's relevant anymore though as much as I wish it to be. I personally am more on the romantic side of doing everything myself but artists these days just need ideas lol
RAMOS: in a way it is as if the internet is coming out of the screen and into the canvas
HERGET: I personally am in love with the idea of the artist really pounding it out in their studio to find something but I'm not sure if that's as valued anymore as simply the finished product
RAMOS: well value can be measured in many ways
there is a value as in - someone buys it
and then there is historical value as in it makes a dent in the trajectory of art
HERGET: I have this conversation with myself all the time
Yeah.. but I feel like the trajectory now is just figuring out how to do something different
"We know EVERYTHING therefore we must move on."
Somethings are forever perfect how they are though. I think art history, celebrity, social media, and money are all too clumped together so each one is influenced so dramatically by one another
RAMOS: art is not about doing something different
it is about doing something relevant
HERGET: Hmmm but is relevancy and new like the chicken and egg.
Which one comes first?
RAMOS: relevant is always new
RAMOS: because that which is - or reality - is always changing
so if you stay relevant you stay new
HERGET: So it's all just a treadmill to no where
RAMOS: or to the unknown
do you find value in definitions?
o you have to know where you are going as much as where you are?
HERGET: I like abstract and big pictures. I think the moment we define things, we remove it's magic, and we're just making it humanesque based on our small understanding of what everything really is
I always make sure that I know where I am but I rarely need to know where I'm going
RAMOS: i'm with you there
HERGET: I have this conversation with myself almost everyday
RAMOS: well i'm glad we are getting it on paper
HERGET: If I'm honest with myself, I find so much value in finding something new within me, by using tried and true techniques
RAMOS: well that's also a way to stay relevant
HERGET: I feel like because it's 2016 doesn't mean we have to ditch the classic shit but spun in new ways
RAMOS: well creating hype around something doesn't make it relevant
HERGET: I feel like that's what everything is though
RAMOS: not everything - only 90%
HERGET: There's so much good shit that falls in the cracks but the ones who are the biggest hype men find a way to be relevant
RAMOS: are they relevant
or just hyped
HERGET: To many many people
RAMOS: relevant has a component of eternity
HERGET: I think very few people know what's truly relevant to eternity
RAMOS: well Matthew - who are you painting for?
HERGET: Most people have no idea that we're all on a rock flying through space and most of the stuff we argue over even matters to the relevancy of all that
Idk, I know it sounds dramatic but I feel like when I paint and when I push through personal boundaries and blockages it's kind of like an offering to the universe
I really just want to be in line with that feeling and stay there
I'm not trying to outwit anyone or "get there first"
RAMOS: I don't want you to feel defeated by the hype or the surface cleverness that seems to get attention
because no great artist ever did it for anyone else but themselves
HERGET: It gets scary sometimes to be honest
Sometimes I'm like fuck man..... I know what will sell easily but I also know what drives me from the deepest place in me and they're not always the same thing
RAMOS: i think that's up to you
HERGET: It's becoming easier and easier to be recognized as an artist because of social media
Sometimes it feels like a mad grab to coming out with the next coolest picture on instagram
it gets exhausting to play that game
So that can potentially create a space that completely influences the direction of art because of the immediacy of "Oh I like that" or "I'm not sure what that is so I'm not going to like it." Now if someone is very aware of that, it can be very tempting to just keep up with that and play the game
Therefore what becomes relevant in art isn't necessarily dictated by the artist
Not nearly as much as they may think
RAMOS: well in that case you are giving away your power
HERGET: yeah but this world is filled with people who have given away all power
RAMOS: yup - 90%
HERGET: it's very tempting
RAMOS: its easy
HERGET: you think you have power when you grow a following like that
but it's not real
RAMOS: i dont' known
i think it is powerful
it's powerful enough to take away your power
HERGET: The trouble is that there is no right or wrong answer, fundamentally
RAMOS: well if you happiness and success are contingent on followers
HERGET: Art people talk about "a brand" a lot. That scares the shit out of me
Everyones wants to be a brand
RAMOS: the 90%
HERGET: Yeah but now we're all brain washed by followers. We think who is being followed is relevant. All these motherfuckers are scheming and plotting how to build this following. it's not magic. Myself included.
HERGET: I just hope to bring some magic to the table as this following is being created
Matthew Ryan Herget
Positive Thought Impulses, 2016
Oil, Spray Paint, and Graphite on Canvas
36 x 24 in.