"I have no interest in showing that I "can paint" - that's not the point."
- Pedro Matos
Efficiency and reductionism characterise the work of Lisbon based artist, Pedro Matos. Since graduating from Central Saint Martins School of Art, Pedro's work has been shown across the world. We had the pleasure to ask Pedro about his work.
Your work is very reduced and minimalistic. Something that is usually associated with mature artists who have experimented their whole life. What is the thinking behind your style?
I try to do the necessary and not more (which is probably much more difficult). It is a hard balance to find what is right and when to stop. I am not trying to make adornments, so the "style" is maybe more connected with practicality and efficiency, if you can have such things in art. It is a process of stripping down and reducing to the essential.
How have your interests in graffiti, skateboarding and music directly shaped the way in which you approach your work?
I also had a formal education at the same time that I was involved with all those things. I think it allowed me to be from from any of the two forms. I have learnt a lot of great things from both cultures, and discarded as many.
Your paintings unfold through a process of adding and reacting. Have your works always unraveled in this way since you began creating art? And how do you know when a work is finished?
I think that relates much more to a lot of my earlier work and oil painting. It was more intuitive and physical. I think my process has changed since then, and now it starts in thought, then planing and finally execution. Of course the material has its own properties and doesn't always correspond to the initial intent, and when that happens, the reacting comes into play. Acceptance is also a very important part of my work and process.
There came a point in your artistic journey that you felt the human figure was no longer necessary in your work, believing it limited your practice as well as the viewer. When and how did this come about? And in what way did you feel it limited the viewer?
I started doing figurative work to study painting, and it became the starting point of my personal work. I quickly realised people were paying much more attention to its formal qualities and virtuosities than to the content, so I had to abandon. I have no interest in showing that I "can paint" - that's not the point.
In a previous interview, you said that ‘I learned from my mistakes and tried not to repeat them.’ What are some of those mistakes you have made during your journey as an artist?
Too many to count.. I was very eager to start and participate at a very young age, and did not wait to finish college or anything.. I was showing my work at the age of 16, 17, 18... I made mistakes that are natural of a teenager entering a world of adults, some times not well intended ones.
How do you see your work evolving and developing in the future?
I can't make many predictions as the evolution and change is something that has to come naturally and can not be forced. I hope to be able to work on larger scale projects and explore more other mediums that painting, which has been my primary focus on the past few years.
What are your unrealised projects, your dreams?
I feel like I am just stepping my foot through the door, everything is still unrealised and in the "dream" realm. I hope to be fortunate to be able to work for a long time, and live behind a life of work and dedication to my practice.
Finally, what would be your utopian world?
I like the world as it is in its material form and natural landscapes. I wish human nature could change into something better... less crime, hatred, violence, without wanting to sound too hippy. John Lennon's Imagine seems like a pretty good utopia for me.
You can enjoy more of Pedro's work on his Instagram: http://www.pedromatos.org/