Arts and Culture

It's a Small World for Matt Scobey, Denver Creative and 2015 Biennial Ambassador

Denver artist and maker Matt Scobey is one of those people who quietly do what they do and don't make a big deal out of it. He's also a community-builder who likes to share ideas and take on projects that morph and change without finite boundaries. When Scobey isn't at work or experimenting with modern furniture concepts, he's likely to be found combing the city's alleys for found materials to repurpose.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Matt Scobey

"Alleys are really giving as a materials source," notes Scobey, who often incorporates found shelving and desktops into his concrete creations. "I like that I don't have to go to a specialty store or industrial manufacturer to find these things. Instead, I can go for short walk and spot things that help define my process."

He's presently engaged in launching Platforms, a collaborative furniture project with steelworker Bonnie Gregory. Through trial and error, the duo created a line that takes advantage of their two very different skill sets, resulting in sustainable, modern, asymmetrical tables combining glass tops, Gregory's steel frames and Scobey's cast-concrete structural elements. Essentially, they are bringing outdoor building materials indoors, into a smaller and more human arena.

These are all great reasons for Scobey's selection as one of two local artists (the other is Plus Gallery artist Melissa Furness) to represent Denver as a 2015 Biennial Ambassador in Mexico City. Scobey will head to Mexico this spring for a ten-week residency; the resulting work will be displayed along with pieces created by two Mexican artists -- Cristóbal Gracia and Daniel Monroy Cuevas, who will complete residencies in Denver -- at the McNichols Building next July as part of the 2015 Biennial of the Americas. Carla Herrera-Prats, of Mexican cultural-exchange organization SOMA, and Adam Gildar, director of Denver's ArtPlant artist-residency program, selected the two artist pairs in the interest of creating the kind of true cultural exchange the Biennial strives to support.

Scobey couldn't be more thrilled; he sees the opportunity as a crash course in succeeding as an artist. "It's so great to see the program's emphasis on professional development for artists," he says. "I don't have an art-school background. I have no degree in art, making it even harder to make a living as an artist. It will be worth it just to get that conversation."

But he also looks forward to the prospect of new collaborations through SOMA in Mexico City: "I'm just excited to get my feet on the ground there and to see the vibrancy and culture, to see what stands out and what I need to explore more," he says. In the meantime, we can hardly wait to see what -- and maybe even who -- he brings back with him from Mexico.

E-mail Matt Scobey or Bonnie Gregory for more information about Platforms products.

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd