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Meet the artist of Light and Matter Matthew Brandt

meet an artist on MondayPhotography is more than light, more than pixels, and certainly more than information, it is made up of matter, matter, place and time. Artist Matthew Brandt is always devising new ways to make all of this clear and inherent in his photographs – large-scale landscapes and portraits, often fantastically colored and with evocative textures – by means of the labor-intensive processes of the early days of photography and sometimes physical artifacts of the places where they were captured. Particularly in love with the rugged and legendary lands of the American West, Brandt seeks to describe and transport the stories, damage and glories of the landscape through his unique photo-based multimedia language. Light and matter – a wide-ranging investigation into Brandt’s career – is currently on display at Glendale’s Forest Lawn Museum.

artist matthew brandt

Matthew Brandt: Llyn Celyn 13, 2016. Water-soaked chromogenic print by Llyn Celyn, 20 x 30 inches (courtesy of the artist)

LA WEEKLY: When did you first understand that you were an artist?

MATTEO MARCA: I don’t remember the age, but when I was very young I gave my mother a portrait of herself while reading a book Elle magazine. And he made her laugh.

What’s your short answer to people who ask what your job is about?

Material photography.

What would you do if you weren’t an artist?

He works in a printing shop in Burbank.

Matthew Brandt: Upper Falls C1M6Y3, 2015. Multi-layer duraclear prints processed with Upper Falls water in an LED light frame, 65 1⁄4 x 46 1⁄4 inches (courtesy of the artist)

Did you go to art school? Why why not?

Yes, doing stuff was the only thing I was good at and loved doing. Tuition fees were also free in the school I was attending at the time.

Why do you live and work in Los Angeles and nowhere else?

I was born here and I guess I’m a simple guy.

When was your first show?

In 2009 at the Cardwell Jimmerson Contemporary Art in Culver City; it is now closed.

When is / was your current / most recent / next show or project?

An exhibition at the Forest Lawn Museum which closes on 4 September.

Matthew Brandt: La Brea D2AB2, 2013. Heliograph, sun-cured tar collected from La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles, CA, on aluminum, 60 x 88 inches (courtesy of the artist)

Which artist dead or alive would you like to show or work with more?

Nikola Tesla.

Do you listen to music while you work? So?

There is often public radio, KCRW, KJAZZ, KDAY etc … playing faintly in the background.

Websites and social media managers, please!

IG: @phatbrandt

Installation view: Light & Matter: The Art of Matthew Brandt, 21 April-4 September 2022 at the Forest Lawn Museum

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