By: Lydia Riley
In order to get to Matthew America Asbury’s (his real name) apartment, I have to be buzzed in, pass a gang of teenage crack dealers, and ride the elevator to the top floor. I knock on the door, and he opens it, stating-
“You’d better have weed or cigarettes.”
I possess the latter, so Matthew invites me into a studio filled with art (even the fridge has been modified into a giant rectangular robot with duct tape), high-end technology, and one tiny dog. We sit on his bed, a space from which he is working with Photoshop, something he does the entire interview.
Reviewer Magazine: Why Photoshop?
Matthew America Asbury: Because it’s like painting with data. You’re not limited by anything except your imagination.
RM: What gave you the idea to work with duct tape?
MAA: Because I love the idea of making art out of crap. Just taking something that people touch everyday and turning it into art. And turning it into an expression of myself.
RM: Ah, let me itch my psoriasis…okay, what’s your favorite medium?
MAA: Oh, it’s tough to say. I can’t pick one. Picking one is insanity. It’s like asking, “Who’s your favorite child?” I’d have to say that life is my favorite medium.
RM: What do you eat?
MAA: I don’t, usually. Usually when I’m creating art I’m manic. Usually when I’m creating art I’m too busy to eat.
RM: Are you manic right now?
MAA: No, I’m depressed…but look at the shit I’m creating (a digitally altered black and white photo of himself). It’s depressing at the least. That and somebody gave me Adderall earlier.
RM: How do drugs influence your art?
MAA: Mmmm…I don’t know. I mean, honestly, they’re a big part of my life, so they’re a big part of my art.
RM: Why do you smoke cigarettes?
MAA: It gives me something to do when I’m on break from my shitty job (Matthew is a bouncer at a local gay bar). It gives me something to do when I’m stressed out. Smoking is actually a big part of my art.
RM: How does art affect your sex life and vice versa?
MAA: Probably gets me laid a lot (laughs). Probably the only reason I get laid; it’s the only talent that I have.
RM: So, does your sex life inspire you?
MAA: Yeah, honestly it does because inevitably the people I’m fucking make their way into my art.
RM: You recently had your first gallery show…what was that like?
MAA: It was nerve-racking.
RM: Were you excited?
MAA: I didn’t eat that day because I was afraid I’d throw up. I have this fear of success and I was that close.
RM: Why do you have a fear of success?
MAA: Because if you are good at something people will expect something out of you. I don’t want anyone to expect something out of me.
RM: I notice that you carry a box cutter.
MAA: You never know.
Matthew’s artwork can be seen this month at the Keyhole Gallery, 1903 Wyandotte, Kansas City, Missouri. His website is http://s214.photobucket.com/home/matthewamerica