Matt Scobey is always busy working on something interesting. For his brand-new installation at Fancy Tiger, the artist drew inspiration from the 1920s art movement Proun to create a concrete-and-wood modular installation with pieces that viewers can purchase to take home in order to create their own personal installations. In advance of Scobey's opening tomorrow, March 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Fancy Tiger Clothing, we caught up with the innovative artist to talk about "Hootie Hoo," why he chose to work with concrete, and picking an OutKast song title for the installation.
See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Matt Scobey
Westword: What's the idea behind "Hootie Hoo"?
Matt Scobey: It's a little bit of a different experiment for me this time. I had been talking with Matthew [Brown, of Fancy Tiger] about doing something at the store, and in my own work I've been experimenting a lot with concrete in the last six months and trying to figure out different ways to use it in art projects and installations. So I'm going to make a site-specific installation out of wood and concrete for the store. It'll look like tiles with simple geometric shapes cut out of them andwork in a grid of some sort with the idea being that people who come by the store can pick up a piece of the mural or a couple pieces and maybe make their own small arrangements over at home.
The platter is really a reference to ritual. Setting aside a space or time for reflection or meditation. I find a strange pleasure in arranging objects, whether that be in my home or in a gallery or public space. In a way we are all curators these days. These platters are like tiny little pedestals for people to set a few objects on, a little personal display of sorts.
What made you want to start experimenting with concrete?
I've been drawn to that material for a long time. I think it's something we all experience in life. I was just walking around today and looking at sidewalk and thinking how cool it would be to someday maybe just pour sidewalks. [Laughs.] I hadn't really had that thought before. It's an approachable material. You can work with it anywhere and I really like the idea that it changes state. When I purchase it from a store in its raw material form, it's this dusty state and you just add water, which is very easily available most anywhere. It has this short period of time of being this kind of liquid goo mess and then it solidifies into a solid. I'm really interested in form and trying to illustrate ideas through using everyday forms right now.
What ideas are you trying to illustrate with this piece?
For years I was obsessed with patterns and repetition. Bricks, diagonal lines, wavy lines, textile patterns were all sources of inspiration and I was trying to develop a visual language by referencing these shapes and patterns in paintings and drawings. The concrete shapes used to create the installation for Fancy Tiger are a reference to that visual language and progression/attempt to evolve from a flat surface, hopefully addressing space and form in a new way. Keep reading for more from Matt Scobey. I have this interest in designing objects for the home. I'm experimenting with small containers and little tabletop sculptures, and with this work for Fancy Tiger I'm moving more into small platters. While these pieces will be hung on a wall on view at Fancy Tiger, I'm going to have a little padding on them so that they can be placed on a table and you could put a coffee cup or a book you're reading on top of it. I've always been interested in things having a little bit of function to them instead of being strictly decorative, but at the same time I'm really into graphics and I don't see anything wrong with something being strictly decorative. This is just another element. I'd like to move into developing some lamps, and I guess this is part of a series of objects I'm trying to design that I feel could be used in the home instead of just strictly hung on a wall and looked at.
Where does the title for the installation come from?
That's a reference to an Outkast track. In general, it's a reference to language and private language. I've always loved language and meaning and how it's different in different situations. I've also always been attracted to lyrics and using references to music in my work. I used to make these comics that were illustrations of rap songs or any kind of song, really. Folk songs or whatever. So I guess that's just a personal interest and underlying theme of reference to the underground, just letting people know, hey, come on by.What made you choose that Outkast song title?
I was hanging out with a couple of friends the other day and OutKast was on, and we were just chatting about how great that album was and nostalgically tripping down memory lane and chatting about listening to it ten years ago together and what hip-hop is now and what it was then. It was just a moment of being with close friends and feeling really comfortable, and hopefully this piece will have a little of that in it.
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I just hope people come down and say hi and have a nice evening. I know there are a couple of other art shows going on in the neighborhood that night. I use art as a way of meeting people and getting to know other people and myself, so I'm just really excited to get to share the work with everyone and hope to see some people I haven't seen for a long time and just catch up.