We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Picon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matt, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I have always viewed risk-taking as an essential part of life. From a personal point of view, it has helped define my identity, my relationships, how I respond to adverse situations, and most specifically, my artistic and professional careers. Everyday we are faced with choices, some are easier and mundane enough where the risk-taking produces very little consequences – trying a different spaghetti sauce is not going to drastically change your life. Then we are faced with those choices that are either dangerous or have dramatic impacts on you or those around you, and to me those risk-taking moments have been quintessential to my being. In the beginning, those risk-taking scenarios were more reckless and less thought out, and sometimes the outcomes didn’t work out in my favor. But nonetheless, I learned, grew, and adapted. Having made it through those years I became capable and confident, and it prepared me for the many decisions that define me. Choosing an artistically educational and professional path, personal relationships vs. professional career choices, broadening my comfort limits in my artistic practice and career, and sometimes starting over to get it right in life, are just a few general risk-taking scenarios that have impacted me in lasting ways. For better or for worse, risk-taking is vital and part of the human existence. Calculate it. Take it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a visual artist I have used photography, graphic design, multimedia, video and site-specific installations, and sculptures within my work. The objects and installations vary on material use, but are mainly constructed of repurposed wood, steel, and found objects with other conventional materials applied in alternative ways. Fabric is also prominent within my sculptures, and recently I’m working on a series that includes neon and fluorescent lights incorporated into the sculptures; primarily as the only source of lighting for the work. Usually with tedious, repetitive actions, my sculptures and installations work with specific memories, the passing of time, cultural references, and ambiguous representations of functionality – in ways that are always pushing my art practice. I obtained my BFA in Intermedia at Arizona State and my MFA in Sculpture at SDSU. My master’s degree was the most challenging because I primarily came from a photography/multimedia/video installation background, and I was thrust into the world of objects and sculpture. I learned from my mistakes, and went on to create many various bodies of work that incorporate my previous skillset into cohesive installations and sculptures. It’s important in my work to never fully leave what I’ve done or learned, and to integrate them into future projects or sculptures.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite places around the city seem to always revolve around food and drink, and I am a regular at many of my favorite spots. Half Door Brewery is a must, especially if you’re going to Padres game – great “Irish” food and full bar. Having lived in OB, Ocean Beach has a few great spots: OB Noodle is a solid Pho place with a great beer selection and awesome garlic wings, while Wonderland has great carnitas tacos – with group shots taken at sunset while overlooking the beach. There are countless great restaurants and bars in University Heights, North Park, and Hillcrest, where it’s more about preference versus quality most of the time. And finally, I’m a big “dive” bar fan, so the Ken Club in Kensington is one of my favorites – cash only, 2 pool tables (one doesn’t work, the other has duct tape), padded leather bar top, and the occasional metal or punk show…what’s not to like? Somewhere in there you go to the beach, Balboa Park, the Zoo, etc.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My personal thanks and deep gratitude is left for those that have lead, supported, loved, and pushed me to strive to do what I love and to do it well. Thank you, my close friends, family, colleagues, Arizona State art faculty, San Diego State art faculty (especially Richard Keely), and The New Children’s Museum for what you mean to me.