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Art professor's painting exhibit showcases Wyoming

Apr 7, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

The mountain ranges, animals, and woods of Wyoming proved to be the proper setting for the artwork of Lander artist Matt Flint.

He is an associate professor of art and has instructed art classes at Central Wyoming College for 12 years.

His most recent 17-piece exhibit called "While I was Out Walking" was up at Gallery MAR in Park City, Utah. He said he used muted and softer colors this year compared to last year to create images of animals and other intriguing characteristics he captured while out hiking in the Wind River Mountains and other Wyoming landscapes.

"The images are inspired by being out and about ... it's meditation time," Flint said. "I think about my surroundings, what was there in the past and what will be there in the future."

Each trip he takes to cover the country offers a new experience, he said, that needs no preliminary sketch.

"I want it to be like the walk -- surprising," Flint said. "This is what's unique to my process ... I kind of jump in blind."

Covering the country terrain is a consistent practice for Flint which he said is done with no planning beforehand. Flint said each hike out with his dog or walk with his family continues to offer different scenery and leads him to develop ideas of plants and animals unique to Wyoming. Most pieces were 4 feet by 4 feet or 4 feet by 6 feet.

The gallery opened on Feb. 28 and wrapped up last week with several of the pieces sold to those who admired his work. Flint has other artwork that remains at that gallery available for the public to see.

"This has been a really good fit for me," Flint said.

Currently Flint is represented by eight galleries in the U.S. and works with two consulting firms. His solo shows have been showcased at Gallery MAR for five years now, and he usually does about two solo shows a year.

He has a studio adjacent to his home in Lander and describes it as his place of refuge.

"You're in your head a lot when you're painting," Flint said, adding that art requires a lot of focus, hard work and time.

"Artwork -- that's why those two words always go together," he said.

Flint said there's definitely a big demand for his art and turns down about one or two galleries every month. The "starving artist" label is a myth, Flint said, that he makes sure to stress while teaching at CWC.

"I work all weekend," he said. "It's a business."

The art department at CWC in itself has changed a lot, he said. They've added more classes that deal with professionalism and the business side of art to teach art students how to handle their work, sales, taxes, contracts, and materials. Students at CWC are taught how to bill clients and work well with people, Flint said.

"We teach great techniques and then they can get out there and know what to do," he said.

There's many artists who still don't make the right decisions or take the best options when it comes to their artwork, Flint explained, and a boot camp semester at CWC, offers a "tough but realistic experience" to educate them in that aspect.

Flint teaches two-dimensional art, paintings, drawings, graphic design and also art appreciation that teaches different art forms. Flint said he's a big believer in practicing what he teaches, and he often shares with students what he does in his studio and the "struggles" he encounters while he's working on pieces that students are probably having too.

The only work that he may sketch out are commission pieces. Flint is now working on two. One piece will be sent to Australia for customers who saw his work at the RARE Gallery in Jackson Hole but were unable to purchase one of his pieces. The other commission piece will find its home in Washington, D.C.

A new show is set for early June at the Paul Scott Gallery in Bend, Ore. More of Flint's work can be seen at many places including the Visions West Gallery in Montana and Colorado, the Pryor Fine Art in Georgia, and The Adamson Gallery in California.

Compared to other places Flint has visited, he said Wyoming has surprised him with its opportunities for artists to pursue their careers.

"Arts in Wyoming are pretty well supported," he said.

Flint said he was told choosing Wyoming as his home for his art was a "bad idea."

"(I) was told it would kill my career," he said.

But it was the interesting and unique things he said saw in Wyoming that always inspires his work in galleries and gave him a "viable" opportunity.

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