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Matt Lively

Matt Lively was a typical little boy who loved baseball and counted the minutes before he got out of school. One Saturday night, when he was seven and enjoying the unusual privilege of staying up late, he happened to watch, "Saturday Night Live." The host was talking about various occupations and joked that artists get to sleep until noon and then sell their paintings for millions of dollars. At that moment, Matt decided he wanted to become an artist, and began drawing and coloring in earnest. By the time he discovered that most artists don't lead the lifestyle that first attracted him, Matt was already "hooked" on art.

Playing after school with his older brother, the boys would make 8-millimeter movies using little clay characters that Matt had fashioned. Learning math by figuring out how many frames there were per second and honing his writing skills by developing scripts, art took on practical applications for him. Sometimes, he would draw cartoons to use in their movies. As his brother grew older, his interest in cars and girls overcame the appeal of making movies, and Matt was left on his own to create the films which was just fine with him.

During his high school years, Matt had an outstanding art teacher who was very supportive and directed him towards a proper path. Matt would stay after school to paint with this teacher and learned everything he possibly could from him. He further developed his skills in photography, film and drawing. Matt says, "Drawing is the basis of everything."

After graduation, Matt went to Virginia Commonwealth University where he majored in sculpture. Because of his major, he was able to work in all mediums and had use of the best tools and equipment. Experimenting as much as he could, Matt enjoyed creating three-dimensional art. One medium he used was wrapping strapping tape around an inanimate object to obtain form. Next, with the help of a blow- torch, he would melt the tape. When it was melted and had cooled down, he would peel it off and have a transparent, light-weight art piece. Most of Matt's art work makes apparent his sense of humor, and often it has a whimsical appearance.

College was not all work. Matt met his future wife there, and they were married after graduation and immediately moved to Atlanta. Securing employment with a restoration company, Matt had income and knew he would have time to paint. He would work many long hours restoring items that had been damaged in fires for an insurance company. But, it also meant he had a lot of down time where he did not have to "work" and could devote that time to painting. Expecting to have to continue this lifestyle for quite a while, within two months, he was selling enough of his art that he no longer needed the two positions.

Remaining in Atlanta for seven years, Matt and his wife jumped at the opportunity to move back to the southeastern part of the country where he had grown up. This was the beginning of his association with Rosenbaum Fine Art. Matt feels it is the perfect relationship. He has the freedom to live where he wants, they share the same plan and goal, and he has the artistic freedom he needs.

Matt's distinctive art style is one of his goals. He paints objects as if they have their own personality and paints primarily in an abstract representational style. Using nondescript colors, he wants his work to be unique. Wood is his favorite medium on which to paint, but he usually paints on canvas with oil and alkyd (fast drying oil paint) which gives him better colors. Surprising him by continually showing up in his work are Abe Lincoln's head, blimps and telephones. He doesn't know what that means and is pleased to know that others will see in it what they want. Mostly he picks up inspiration from things around his house, but if he finds himself temporarily uninspired, he will jump on his bike and go downtown or take a walk.

One of the biggest changes in Matt's life is his little son, and making certain that he has time to spend with him is a priority. But other hobbies are work related as his love of art filters down to everything he does. Photography is a favorite. And, once again, Matt is making 8-millimeter movies. Currently working with animation, Matt would like to make a movie combing animation and film. He collaborates with friends in both his photography and film-making; They sometimes borrow equipment from one another and bounce ideas off one another. He also teaches one-day art workshops.

In the future, Matt would love to paint more installation art. After seeing a two- story building, where the artist depicted the lower level as hell, the middle as purgatory, and the second floor as heaven, it affirmed that this is a direction he wants to follow. Recently, he completed a sixty- foot long canvas, which he found challenging and rewarding. Maybe artists don't get up at noon and make millions of dollars, but Matt is living proof that they enjoy their work and just keep getting better and better.

All photographs taken courtesy of Kimberli Photography