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5 Questions for: Artist and Designer Zach Matheson

Portland artist Zach Matheson spends his days selling furniture for modern home decor retailer Design Public. His nights, however, are reserved for “trying to make cool shit,” such as his artwork, which he describes plainly as “paintings on canvas,” in order to leave the rest up to the viewer. Matheson’s most recent artistic endeavor, featured in the June/July issue of GRAY, involved creating industrial tote bags using black plastic mesh and leather.

Regarding his work, Matheson says to get it cheap while you can. Read on for more of his wit, his mindset behind his designs and who he thinks would play him in a movie.

How did you earn your first dollar?   By selling beads I made from that moldable clay that you bake. I would make a bunch of beads and then sell them to all of my friends and then go buy stickers or candy or play Pac-Man.

What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on in the past year?   My first and second art show at Portland’s Courier Coffee Roasters combined. One started the other; it is ongoing.

Your baskets and your artwork are very different. How do you get in the mindset to create each?    Baskets are for my hands and need a lot of pulling and cutting and being exact; painting is sloppy and messy and less exact. My mood tells me which I need.

What’s the best invitation you’ve ever received? To do this interview.

If there were a movie made about your life, who would play you and why?   Steve Buscemi because he is little and weird and he does his own thing, and everybody has an opinion of him one way or another. Plus I love Fargo, and I had a smoke with him in New York on a snowy day and it was funny as hell!


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