My drawings and sculptures are inspired by Buddhist, Shinto, Egyptian and Mayan art. I am especially influenced by the work of Celtic monks from 1600 years ago who worked long hours at delicate crafts to test and improve their character. Seeing the delicate, intricate precision of illuminated manuscripts, hand-made by monks in 800 A.D., profoundly impacted how I understood myself—they showed me that I was stubborn, arrogant, impatient, and selfish. I’ve also been deeply influenced by the contemporary artist and film-maker Theo Kamecke. Theo Kamecke creates sculptures, functional boxes, and wall pieces out of old circuitry. Theo tries to understand beauty from an almost timeless perspective—he wonders how things will look to someone a thousand or a million years in the future; he doesn’t see circuitry or his work as “futuristic” but as fossils that are already growing old. Without Theo Kamecke’s encouragement I may have gone in a different direction with my work. (Contemporary artists Motoi Yamamoto and Makoto Fujimura are also influences in my work).
I use Pen & Ink and wood engraving because of the immediacy and permanency of the mark. Unlike other artists who work with Pen & Ink, I do not plan out each mark of my intricate drawings (or engravings) – I simply lay ink onto the paper. The most planning I do is a simple geometric outline like a circle or an arch within which to draw, but sometimes I simply begin to draw. There is no way for me to correct mistakes if they happen. If you are wondering “How did he make this drawing without making any mistakes?” this is exactly what I hoped you would feel and my answer is “Patience.”
Most of my work is abstract because I think that character is also abstract; each situation creates an environment in which I can choose to have grace and integrity. With a heart of anger or impatience, it is impossible for me to create work like this. In anger I cannot draw a straight line, without patience I cannot complete my work, and without love I cannot begin my work. So while I create art in order to challenge my own character, my intention is also to make sublime art, and what I mean by this is that I make art that helps others to see themselves in the context of history. I make art that brings people into a state of contemplation over their lives and the purpose of existence. Just as a book is not valuable because of its cover, the treasure I hope to create is not what is on the surface of the art or in any particular image. The true treasure is what happens in me and you through the contemplation, relationships and character that the work brings about.
I have a degree in Studio Art from Messiah College, 2009. To supplement my studies in art I also studied Engineering (Messiah College 2002-03), Architecture (RPI 2004), and Philosophy (SUNY Albany 2005-06, and Messiah College 2007-09).
Watch some of my films on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MatthewKiehl
Find my book on LuLu: http://www.lulu.com/content/1114266
The address for this blog/portfolio (for your convenience): https://mdkiehl.wordpress.com/
In order to bring my art to the public, at the highest degree of quality I have on occasion sought the assistance of sponsors. Below you will find those who have helped to make my art what it is today. Thanks so much!
Income-outcome (Andromeda Training Inc.)
Happy Square Productions (The Land of Eyas)
Legion Paper (the makers of Stonehenge fine art papers)