To see Matt Sesow's paintings is to share in a bit of his reality.
A landing airplane hit and severed his left arm at the age of
eight, forcing him to become right handed. The physical and
emotional pain of the trauma has left a clear mark on Matt's work.
In 1994, at the age of 28, he began painting. His titles, such as
"Painting by Remembers", "Lost Luggage", "Alone in Death", "Sucker
Punch", and "Waiting for Coagulation", are more than subtle hints
of the turmoil he has experienced. He views painting as a way to
communicate his emotions and experiences in an immediate and
powerful manner. He talks of "punching" the paint on his surface,
and the turbulence it creates grabs at the viewer, never quite
letting go. Blood red backgrounds, angry and averted orange eyes,
heavily outlined figures not able to stay within the confines of
the canvas, are hallmarks of his style.
Matt also writes short stories and poems, all of which appear in
lower case characters. He finds it easier not to use capitals, as
it takes a second hand to push the shift key.
He writes, "people are sometimes very frightening to me. i paint
what i think the subject might be thinking about me. faces, a
hand, and mouths are very expressive, but it all comes together in
the eyes. everyone i paint stares me down as i create them,
challenging me to fail."
Matt grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska and has since moved to a tiny
one bedroom apartment in Washington, DC, where he paints all day.
He uses oil on canvas and cardboard. Paintings range in size from
notebook-sized pages to 4 x 5 foot canvases. His subject matter
is always the human form, often in a state of anger, confusion, or
This article originally appeared in the Vol. 18 No. 1 Jan-March,
1997 issue of Folk Art Finder.
Used by permission of the author.