SPOTLIGHT By Sharman Andersen
© Matthew Sloan Welch
Matt Welch ’87 is an artist who lives and works in Portland, Maine. A quick review of his oils shows that he likes to paint ordinary objects, such as stalks of asparagus, high-top sneakers, lobster buoys, and piles of unwashed dishes.
This painting of cherry pie, a favorite dessert of Welch’s sister, was inspired by a similar painting he had created for her. “There’s no human presence in most of my paintings, but maybe someone’s nearby. I love to paint everyday things and infuse them with light, color, and character,” says Welch. “I like to bring mundane objects to life. There’s a magic to it.”
Cows are a favorite subject for Welch, who has never owned one nor lived on a farm. On a trip to Krakow, Poland, a few years ago, he ate in a restaurant that had a menu with 10 pages devoted to cows. “I took the menu home for inspiration,” he says. He has done a series of cow paintings since then and challenges himself to make each one individual.
Welch paints at a small private studio, where he is free to create without interruption. “People like to make a personal connection with the artist and the art, but meeting people breaks up the rhythm,” he says. A few of Welch’s paintings are on display in the Flat Iron Gallery in Portland’s Arts District. “It’s a great space, just across the street from the Portland Museum of Art.”
As an artist, Welch often utilizes his business skills. After all, one cannot sell much without marketing. And he’s noticed that creativity—crucial in business as well as in art—is often undervalued. “The best artists are the ones who break the rules,” says Welch. “But too many organizations don’t want employees to venture outside of corporate parameters.”