Matthew McDade’s Chance-Driven Paintings

Matthew McDade is a 20-year-old painter from East Palestine, Ohio. He began creating art as a young child- art being the first thing he naturally gravitated towards. He created his own comic book characters as a child (from “Plumber Man” to “Nudey Rudy”), but now he paints. His style is ethereal, chance-driven, and totally unique. Yet he maintains a sensibility of the world around him and refuses to be an “outsider” in the world of youth culture and art around him. Check out Matthew’s work below and be sure to read our interview with him that follows.
Click on any of the above photos to open a gallery of Matthew’s work.
Describe your style of work.
My style is something which I call, “Ethereal Acrylics.” Simply put, I typically paint faces amidst clouds of various colors. Whatever feels right. Thankfully, I’ve been able to remove myself from the process as much as possible and let “chance” take over- which produces results that I definitely couldn’t achieve if my ego were more involved than it is. I use inexpensive acrylic paint and brushes, and put more emphasis on the idea of “chance” (and how it pertains to my current state of being) than anything. I developed my style itself through those exact means, as a matter of fact. Now I’m just seeing where it takes me.
Describe your creative process. How do you start a new piece?
My creative process is, in short, wild. I watch a lot of art documentaries, and definitely relate my own process to the late, great Jean-Michel Basquiat’s. He would often have the television on, be chewing gum, have music playing- and be painting at the same time (often in Armani suits.) Me too (minus the suits.) It’s not a means of direct “copycatism,” but rather something I’ve marveled at in discovering that he painted the same way that I do. I think his style lent itself to that sort of “free” process more than mine, but that’s okay. Your creativity is allowed to be unique in those sorts of aspects. You were meant to do what you do for some reason.
And as far as how I start a piece goes? I’ll utilize my inner sense of “chance” and grab some colors of paint, a canvas of some size, and brushes in that same way, too. I have started pieces with an actual idea in mind before, but more often that not, it’s dissipated somewhere in the process (The only exceptions are my self portraits and a landscape painting that I completed recently.) There is, of course, an innate sense of artistic sensibility that’s required for doing this. But then again I think everybody has their own version of innate artistic sensibility. Yours just needs exercise.
(If you’re more interested in what I’m talking about, look up “Francis Bacon painter” on Youtube. He painted with the same inclusion of “chance” to the process as me, and discussed it in some of his interviews! Great artist too.)
What is it that inspires your work?
Life! And I used to not want it to be that way, but now that’s something I’m grateful for. I think that’s because my life is getting better. But, nevertheless- yeah- life inspires my work. It inspires the colors I end up using, the expressions on the faces in my paintings, basically everything. That’s speaking of my art directly. But what inspires my creativity? Fashion, music, my friends (Hi Aaron!), my family, Nina, and learning about & checking out other artists.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I’ll hopefully be located in New York City. That’s my dream. I want to maneuver the fine art world with what I do. I think my generation is putting a lot of the bullshit that permeated fashion, art, and otherwise aside and truly viewing things baring the beauty which they contain in mind these days. I’m getting more & more into modeling, and am down with that too. I wouldn’t mind truly making waves in that world as well.
What do you want people to know you for?
I want people to know me for my style. I want them to know me for my ability to achieve success with something that I was given naturally- and that they can do the same thing too. Maybe you were blessed with mechanical skills, you’re a naturally great chess player- whatever. You’ve got something. We all do. Maybe you’re reading this and have no interest in being an artist yourself. Pursue what you do with the drive that I’ve pursued mine. From an artist to whatever you are- you’ll be amazing.
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Follow Matthew on Twitter.

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