We are a society mesmerized by extremes. In our fascination with art this generally translates into obsession with magnitude, scale and sheer quantity, while our consumption tendencies of technological objects tends to swing the opposite, manifesting in compact phones-computers-everything else in one hand held device. The works featured here are as mind blowing as the compactness of current computer software programs, packing so much detail into such tiny confines. All of the works here are created on standard matchbooks, with the painted or drawn imagery measuring in at no more than four inches of length on any given piece. Joseph Martinez, Mike Bell, Jason D’Aquino and Krista Charles all demonstrate immense technical skill in their matchbook art.
Joseph Martinez creates gorgeous paintings inspired by everyday people and things he encounters in the urban environment. The artist uses microscopic one and two hair brushes to develop the astounding detail in his paintings. The works seem to serve as urban relics of mundane moments translated into colorful and magical talismans.
Mike Bell is an active artist in the lowbrow genre that uses pop culture imagery as the subjects in his drawings inside matchbooks. Bell uses the matches to construct a found object sculptural element into the works. His matchbook drawing of Htichcock, at the top of the page, where Bell used the matches to construct the iconic bird shape from “The Birds” is one of my favorites.
Jason D’Aquino’s matchbook drawings have a nostalgic, romantic and campy twist that interacts with the aged and tattered matchbook surfaces he uses. His use of highlights and the softness of the blending juxtaposed by the crispness of his lines is technically masterful and succeed in creating tiny new worlds.
Krista Charles uses maps and technology in creating her works, although you wouldn’t know it at first glance. Each matchbook she selects to create a graphite drawing on is from a specific location or establishment. Charles then looks this establishment up on Google Maps and draws the street view image of google maps onto the specified matchbook. There’s a sense of quirky tension between personal memento and detached digital experience that is activated in the process of her work.