I'll admit it. I'm a total blog nerd, and I definitely subscribe to more than I can keep up with. But when I do sit down to catch up on my blog reading, I discover some fabulous new stuff -- like the artwork of Matt Adrian.
Matt is an artist who lives in the San Gabriel Mountains just north of Los Angeles, California. Matt paints birds. Witty, wonderful, colorful birds, with captions and titles that reveal the artist's quirky sense of humor. And I'm all about quirk. One of the things I've often thought about bird art is how decidedly not quirky it can be. I'm familiar with realistic, highly detailed artwork depicting birds in their natural surroundings. And I've seen my share of cutesy, cartoonish imagery that cherishes birds as snuggly little fuzzy-wuzzums. Not that there's anything wrong with either… but it's definitely refreshing to stumble upon an artist whose work is completely original and breathes new life into the world of avian art. Check out a few of my favorite pieces in the slideshow below.
I had a chance to ask Matt a couple questions about his work. First of all, why paint birds? Why not aardvarks, or hot air balloons? "I'm very into nature and science," Matt responded. "I've been into dinosaurs since I was old enough to hold a pencil, and I've found the dinosaur-bird evolutionary story fascinating beyond words. For years, I never really noticed birds -- I mean, they're there, they're part of the landscape, kind of in the background, but once you REALLY notice them, it's over. It was like falling in love."
The titles of Matt's pieces can be hilariously odd, as though some of our strange human tendencies are personified through the birds he paints. So, of course, I had to know about his inspiration. Matt says, "It's a way to safely deal with my more misanthropic tendencies. Some of my art involves using birds to comment on how the everyday life as a human being can be completely absurd."
And when I asked Matt if he was a birdwatcher, he said that if he were to hike with a real birdwatcher, he'd "be an embarrassment." But he does carry around "one of those foldy identification-guide things," so that's a start. Amateur or not, it takes someone with a real eye for natural detail to make birds spring to life on a canvas. Matt might not be an all-out birdwatcher, but he certainly is a careful observer.
It's quite possible that Matt could be my new best friend. Too bad he lives so far away! In the meantime, I may have to ponder purchasing some of Matt's art for my own walls. You can order prints of Matt's work from his online shop, The Mincing Mockingbird, and be sure to check out his blog at www.mincingmockingbird.blogspot.com. --J.E.