Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Matt Barton
All images courtesy of Matt Barton.
#66: Matt Barton
Artist Matt Barton hails from Colorado Springs, where he teaches at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and creates fantasy worlds in video and installation, in which animals talk and strange landscapes shimmer and people walk through prismatic lights. In these playgrounds for adults, Barton invites viewers to suspend reality, experience their inner children and just have fun. What goes on in the mind of an artist whose alternative worlds defy grown-up gravity with an open-minded smile? Read Barton's 100CC questionnaire for answers.
Westword:If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Matt Barton: Paul Reubens. He's the most influential artist in my childhood and definitely affected how I view the world. To take on an ongoing, open-ended project with him that had no prescribed format would be terribly exciting.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
A lot of my friends are the most interesting, especially because I have the good fortune of intimacy with their ideas and personalities. Jacob Ciocci, Colin Frazier, Shana Moulton, Tony Patera, Thad Kellstadt, Jesse McLean, Jamie Boyle, Jennifer Reeder, Astria Superak and Lauren Cornell always excite me with their ideas and where their work takes them. I feel lucky to know them. More than that, my wife Sadie and our kids are the most interesting people to me right now and forever. I can't believe I get to share life with them.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
I don't want any art trends to die. I like the collective creativity of our culture to pursue "trends" fully, growing and morphing them into new things. The most seemingly irritating trends (due to overabundance) are the pulse of certain zeitgeists and vital to our communal cultural evolution. (Maybe yoga pants/tights is a fashion trend that I wouldn't miss.)
What's your day job?
I'm a professor at UCCS in the Visual and Performing Art department.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
An eternal Social Sculpture project around real food and honorable services for the needy, collaborating with smart designers, engineers and creative types to overthrow the elite families/corporations who control all the wealth and power, overhaul the current utilities paradigms and establish a truly sustainable global village. Creating a utopia on earth sounds like a worthwhile way to spend these hypothetical funds.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Two things: Reward/support experimental curatorial work, programming and creative work. Sponsor local, national and international artist-in-residence programs.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Maybe Charles Ross?
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
I'm working on a sculpture/architecture/landscape hybrid project/prototype that uses natural materials and sustainable systems.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local art community in 2014?
I'm kind of a hermit, so I have no idea. Hopefully someone doing something challenging.
Matt Barton's new installation, I Think I Feel Something, opens with a reception from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, July 25, and runs through October 5 at MCA Denver. Learn more about Matt Barton and his work online.
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
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