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Conversations with Kim Matthews

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kim Matthews.

Hi Kim, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I realized I wanted to be an artist when I was 4 or 5. I was constantly drawing and making paper cutouts when I was a kid, and when I got to school I started getting recognition for the things I made. As I’ve said elsewhere, art’s an odd affliction–something that chooses you perhaps more than you choose it.

I’ve been to art school a couple of times and have a commercial art certificate too. I found trying to make art in school almost impossible at times; I was not always the best student but I sure tried hard when I went to college the second time. When I was attending the University of MN in the early aughts, I was dating a man who introduced me to a painter friend who was curating a gallery in south Minneapolis. She liked what I was doing and invited me to participate in a group show. That was the beginning.

I’ve been exhibiting consistently for over 20 years in commercial and nonprofit venues. I support myself through contract work: graphic design and production, writing and editing, and so on. I think I got going a little too late and didn’t get my work polished enough that I could get into good galleries in time. Now everyone’s an artist and there are so few commercial galleries and even fewer dealers who are committed to their artists over the long haul. I’m grateful to have a small network of curators and dealers here who believe in what I do.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think I alluded to this a bit earlier. I didn’t start exhibiting professionally until I was in my mid-30s, and not too long after that, the gallery scene in MSP started shrinking. Unlike a lot of people around here, I’ve always wanted to take the traditional gallery artist route, which seems far less possible than it did 20 years ago. I’m also extremely introverted and guard my time fiercely because I want to spend as many hours as possible in the studio. So I don’t exactly make things easy for myself. I’m not a realistic painter or a crafter. I don’t make condo-ready decorator art. I don’t make a lot of work because what I do tends to be labor-intensive; I’m into process and materials. Also, self-promotion and networking can be excruciating.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m primarily a mixed-media sculptor but I also make nonobjective drawings. The form my work takes is based on my interests in process and materials. The substance of my work is rooted in my experience as a meditator and my desire to make art that makes people feel joy or peace and to transmit positive energy in their living spaces. I’m pretty focused on making objects that relate to the body, though I’ve thought a lot about how my sculpture in particular might function in public spaces if I upsized it.

I’m probably best known for the work I was doing 10 or so years ago, which involved making numerous small modules and assembling them into reliefs and freestanding sculptures. I enjoyed the process and it was practical because it enabled me to be productive with whatever available time I had, but viewers got too into the obvious amount of labor and were more concerned with how long it took me to make a piece than how it made them feel, so I had to do something else.

I’m most proud of my ability to make and exhibit work in the face of utter terror and self-doubt. I’m proud that I somehow managed to convince myself that what I do could be of service in the world and that I should try, even if I failed. That’s enormous for me. I didn’t come from a family that supported this kind of thing–though my mom became a fan in her later years and that was wonderful, and my brother has always helped me and believed in me.

My work is so handmade, it’s got its own kind of fingerprint, so I guess that sets me apart from others. I’m interested in playing with dualities such as planned/accidental, rough/smooth, and organic/geometric, which has to do with my meditation practice. I draw people in by using apparent similarities to highlight differences. Also, I haven’t met too many other artists involved in consciousness-based art who work in 3D. No one actually comes to mind, except my friend Susan, whose work is really about beauty as a spiritual vehicle, so it’s kind of a different thing.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
I would love to assemble a cadre of fabricators who would be willing to produce large sculptures and/or teach me the fundamentals of carpentry and 3D printing. I’d love to be curated into exhibitions or invited to exhibit my work. I also love it when people show up at my openings and buy my work. Bring on the love!


  • My average prices range from $750 to $3000

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Tim Rummelhoff

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  1. Herbert Dore

    June 18, 2022 at 11:25 pm

    Wonderful Kim , keep transmiting that positive energy in your works, God bless this great artist !!

  2. Tanya Leffler

    June 29, 2022 at 9:27 pm

    Kim, your work is so engaging and thought-provoking! I was so happy to read this interview to get a glimpse inside look your process and perspective. I look forward to seeing your work produced on a monumental scale, maybe in front of a new tower in downtown Minneapolis. I imagine any of your pieces would give people walking and bussing by something fresh to focus on and think about, instead of the work they’re coming from or going to.

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