There is a deep power in the telling of a story. Even deeper is the connection of a shared story––and that’s precisely what the artists from this week’s Art Discovery accomplish through their art. While they come from vastly different backgrounds, they’ve discovered one shared truth: everyone is searching for connection, whether that’s connection to people, a place, a community, or a story.
Erin Matlock is a mental health advocate recognized for her poetry, TEDx appearance, her annual Brain Summit, and now, her paintings. Art came to Erin as a form of self-preservation when she took to poetry to capture her most vulnerable feelings. Now, she sees it as a form of connection.
“I keep writing, I keep painting, I keep sharing to let others know they’re not alone,” she said.
She finds her voice through art. The paintings featuring her poetry are bold, bright, inspiring, and energizing. Her atmospheric collection is a stark contrast––a large canvas with a subtle gradient of neutral colors evoking a sense of calm, stillness, and reflection.
Pete Tillack initially turned to art to capture the places he surfed. His art quickly grew beyond that when he recognized its connective power.
“There’s something about being an individual in a crowd full of individuals that makes us all similar,” he said. “But we can’t connect with each other because we’re not willing to discuss it.”
Pete’s gift of symbolism allows him to articulate shared experiences. His paintings are highly detailed and realistic but juxtaposed with an unusual scene, like a couch in the middle of a busy street. The couch, which appears often in his paintings, is an invitation for viewers to place themselves in the scene and consider the question the artist is asking.
For Aileen Frick, the message in her art is more subtle and comes to her as a surprise, much like her path to art. Formerly a civil engineer, Aileen took a class for fun but was encouraged to take her art further by her instructor who recognized her immense potential.
Aileen’s creative process is slightly surreptitious. “It’s hard to explain, but I understand it all intuitively,” she said.
Indeed, viewers find themselves strongly connected to Aileen’s work which captures simple everyday scenes but with deep emotion and detail through the traces of colors, words, and shapes in the bits of paper she layers.
It’s difficult to look at these artists’ work and not feel a spark of inspiration or a look inward. Watch the full Art Discovery video to learn more about these artists’ processes and the meaning behind their art.