Nashville Visual Artists-Rob Matthews

I found myself on the back roads of Donelson trying to find Rob's studio. In the edge of a big green backyard was a little house that served as his studio. His studio was super organized though the work spoke to me of chaos, of overlapping. It was an interesting contrast and a good start to hearing more about his work.

What is the theme of your work?

The theme of my work is rooted in mortality. Even when I don't intend for it to be, it's there. The splintering that you see-the multifaces-is a conceptual realization of that idea-of living a finite life in an infinite space. There is also the theme of transition in my work-the idea of not being able to be in the present moment. The splintering shows how moments in time can overlap one another.

What inspires your work?

Personal experience inspires my work. Whatever big trend or event that is happening in my life influences the work I make. People who are involved in their craft have an influence on what I do as well. This passion is a sort of validation of why I am so involved with what I do. I am motivated to create work by a need to make things. When I don’t make things, I feel something lacking.

What are the goals of your work?

Now that I’m a midcareer artist, I want to make sure that this is the decade I make the best work I’ve ever made. I’ve recently relocated to Nashville from Philadelphia and though I have gallery representation in the Northeast, I want to be an active participant in this region. It would be great to exhibit in Nashville and the larger region and contribute to what is happening around here. I'm still trying to learn about the history of the Nashville art scene to figure out how to best serve.

What are your thoughts on the Nashville Arts Scene?

I knew there were a number of talented artists here before I moved back. It’s more organized and happening than I realized. Nashville has changed a great deal since when I lived here as a kid. It's easy to focus on the weaknesses, but I think that's how artists talk about any art scene, anywhere. It's more important to focus on the strengths and the potential. Hopefully the right things will align to harness that potential or the scene here will be strong but remain undervalued.To learn more about Rob’s work check out