The What is Painting? Project: Featuring Matthew Wong

What is Painting? Norbert Marszalek

I thought it would be intriguing to ask painters this simple yet complex question. This query comes with no ground rules—it’s up to each individual artist to find their own approach and direction.

This project will be an ongoing exploration … let’s see where it takes us.

What is Painting?
Featuring Matthew Wong

Painting is located in the space of not knowing.

Painting is a way of doing things.

I once read somewhere that some people may have never written a poem in their lives, but they are still poets. That it is possible to go through one’s life without poems, but impossible to go through life without poetry.

One can talk, one can write, one can paint.

Would I be able to go through life without painting? I guess we’ll never know.

Matthew WongMatthew Wong, oil on canvas, 39 x 31 inches, 2014

I was born in Toronto, Canada, on March 8, 1984. Upon graduating from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2007 with a BA in Cultural Anthropology, I returned to Hong Kong and spent the next two years working a variety of desk jobs with no real sense of purpose or commitment in life. Somewhere around 2009 I took a photograph of a still life in my grandfather’s bedroom with my Nokia E87. It was the first thing I remember doing out of my own creative volition. Shortly after I met my first girlfriend and she encouraged me to apply for an MFA in photography and creative media, which I did, and ended up enrolling at the City University of Hong Kong in 2010. I spent those years not doing to well in the classroom … just spending most of my time out on the street taking photos instead. Even towards the end of my degree I felt I had gained no real skills or prospects that could take me forward in the professional world. It was around this time, in 2012, that I considered drawing for the first time—maybe as a last resort to find something to hold on to. At first I just bought a cheap sketch pad along with a bottle of ink and made a mess every day in my bathroom randomly pouring ink onto pages—smashing them together—hoping something interesting was going to come out of it. Pretty soon that was the only activity that sustained me in my daily routine. And in a way, what I’m doing now every day has not really changed.

The What Is Painting? Project – More Featured Artists