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Duct Tape and Adderall-A Look at Artist Matthew America

By: Lydia Riley

Matthew America
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.
Duct Tape Moon
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.
The Kiss
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

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