Meet the Artist: Matt Duckett

Hailing from La Crosse, Wisconsin, Matt is a painter and musician. His paintings use storytelling methods to explore traditional lifestyles and music subcultures throughout the Midwest and around the world. In his career, he has captured Scandinavian cultural legacies in rural Wisconsin and spent a number of years examining the interplay of heritage and hardship in Chicago’s unique Irish music scene. Recently, he spent time traveling to remote tribal villages and disaster-stricken communities in the Philippines to understand issues of displacement and identity. His work has been exhibited in galleries and published in leading national magazines in the United States and internationally. He has been passionate about developing arts communities, including fostering arts education, in places where he has lived, worked and visited.

Schools That Can Milwaukee: This piece is a reflection on the development of one life, and how at various points we affect a network of other lives. As students, we rely on others to master knowledge and teach us how to transfer that knowledge. As we learn throughout our lifetime, we begin to take on the role of educators and become advocates for the next generation of students. In this way, the painting can represent one life or the interconnectedness of many lives that contribute to education and strong communities.

Teach for America: With this piece, I explored how the learning environment can influence our unique talents, challenges and circumstances, ultimately shaping us into sources of inspiration for others. With the layered buildup technique I used, I hope viewers must use their own experiences to reflect on and interpret the content of the painting.

Why art?
Art is the language that took hold for me. From an early age, art was how I analyzed, understood and reacted to the world around me. It remains the most natural medium for me to interpret my life experiences.

Could art save a life?
I believe art can define a life and open up meaning in life, and in this way, it can give our experiences meaning and purpose.

Cake or pie?
More often pie, but more favorably cake.