January 12, 2009

Rusty’s elephant journal “DROP IN” series, Featuring Illustrator/Painter Matthew Doubek

I knew it was going to be a fun hang when in the first 15 minutes we were sipping on a Belgian styled Tripel beer and talking about salvaged house paint, favorite album covers, and tales of Snoop Dogg. These worlds might not seem to collide, but in the fantastical world of Matthew Doubek they just might coalesce into a masterpiece.

You may not be familiar with this man, but Matthew Doubek (alias krap master) is a brilliant painter and illustrator based in Louisville, Colorado. However, let me tell you… you will hear of him soon. Doubek is on a colorful journey into the depths of making beautiful art. His techniques range from inverted drawing to transferring crazy images via xerox to using salvaged materials ranging from vintage magazines to old paint. To be honest, he was eco-friendly when eco-friendly meant you were a bum and digging through dumpsters to find other people’s crap… maybe that’s where the alias “krap master” was born. Who knows. But, this is a man intent on making art on his own interesting terms, and doing it with varied and unique methods.

Doubek has had a studio in Louisville, CO since 2002, which means for 6 years he has been manipulating canvasses and drawing with paint, crayons, scalpels and whatever else he can turn into an instrument. Originally from Minneapolis, he still has a slight Minnesota accent… you can hear the round O’s in his voice, but even more so, you feel the warmth of his personality forged from the cold winters of Minnesota. See, I visited Matthew to take photos and write about his artwork, and we didn’t get around to doing anything but chill out and drink some beers for 2 hours! It was so refreshing to see an artist like Matthew going after uninhibited creative expression through a myriad range of techniques… and on top of that, being seriously one of the nicest and friendliest dudes in the world. I found myself interacting with this kid next to me, a kid, and genuinely being excited for him exploring the creative process and having a fun time doing it.

Besides having good brew and some jelly beans for his guests at the studio, he also encourages people to contribute to any pieces that are in progress. I definitely left my mark. As we were looking through an old magazine we got inspired by some 70’s facial hair, so I added a mustache to one of the canvasses… which was then augmented by Matthew dabblling and drawing and painting and naming my contribution.

After leaving my mark, we decided to break out the camera and shoot some fun portraits. From the mustache canvas sprang up an idea for an actual mustache… but a bright blue mustache painted over his beard! So, when he says to leave a mark in his studio, I didn’t really expect to actually be painting his face, ha! But the face paint needed to happen, we were feeling it for the photos, and we ended up shooting photos of silly ideas we came up with… trying new things and enjoying our brew and creating some new art on a living canvas… him. After realizing we had hung out for three and a half hours, Matthew invited me to dinner with his wife and friends… how rad is that? Not only did I get to drop in and see the craft of a master (krap master, that is), I also got treated to his wife Shawnna’s moroccan chicken and roast potatoes with crumbled feta. Yum! Followed up with some good tunes and new friends in the family room, the time quickly passed and midnight arrived… it was time for me to depart the world of Doubek.

I sometimes wonder about artists like Matthew who are so amazingly talented… what would he do if he could not paint? I think he is obviously doing something that he was born to do, something that innately comes out of the depth of him, further heightened by years of practice and development. If Matthew couldn’t paint, would he spontaneously combust? Would the world be different?

I think the world would be different. Which leads me to believe, that you need to check out some of Matthew’s art for yourself. Keep an eye out for him around the country; in the next year he’ll be in galleries in Denver (Pirate Gallery), Boulder (Joy Engine), Minneapolis (Gallery 360), Georgia (Alcove Arts), New York (Charming Wall), and certainly other places.

Here are some of the photos from my hang with Matthew:

Here’s the info on his upcoming show in Denver at the Pirate Gallery. Show runs January 30th till February 15th 2009. Artist reception held on Friday February 6th, 6 – 10 pm. complete with “toast and tunes”. The show is called “Life with a side of MARMALADE – it’s more than just jelly”, and features recent illustrative paintings and graphic silkscreens by the creative duo, Matthew Doubek (alias krap masters studio) and Sam Mobley (Sam’s Garage).

Stay tuned to elephantjournal.com as I continue to “drop in” on the lives of artists, entrepreneurs, and visionaries. Also, Thanks to Alex at ihatealex.org for the connecting me with Matthew! Also, check out my recent blog on the Fleet Foxes.

Writing / Photography by Rusty Ralston (http://rustyralston.com)

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