The Canvas | Matthew Tony Russell

27 March 2014


Contemporary artist Matthew Tony Russell is inspired by qualities from minimalist forms and abstract painters that have a heightened sensitivity for composition and colours. He has always been intrigued by the way they use paint in order to express themselves, which is often evident in his work. 


He began to explore abstract painting because it was the strongest intellectual influence on him as an artist, and find it to be the only medium that he can use in order to express himself. Nature is another major inspiration for him and he focuses mainly on landscapes that have a hyper awareness for colour harmonics, form and shape. He works from photographs he takes of the natural world and dissects sections of the images then paints them in an abstract language with an intent to develop an abstract visual vocabulary. Using an innate sense of relationships, he creates something new, yet with a sense of subconscious familiarity that are controlled within the space of a painting. He doesn't try to depict reality but relies on colour, contrast and texture to convey his feelings and make things visible to the viewer in some respects.

What are you currently working on?
For over a year now I have been working on a collection of paintings that reflected the abandonment of a lot of buildings around the UK. I am interested in the idea of how we project ideas onto inanimate objects and unused buildings or interior spaces can become the personification of a danger or threat that we feel may be prevalent within it. I try to link this idea with the paintings, by dissecting sections of the places and painting from them in an abstract language.

Has your art or approach/method changed over the years and if so, how?
I feel my approach and method changes all the time. I think an artist should always find new things and learn from what they can do and what is yet to be learnt. For me, I love to combed new ideas and new methods of making all the time. This is something I have always done as an artist, and is something I will always continue you to do.

What is your biggest ambition as an artist?
To have my name associated with abandonment and for people to see these locations that I work from. As an unseen beauty, that should not be forgotten. 

What is the central theme of your work, do you have one?
Responses to mirroring the flux, fragile equilibrium of architecture and nature within each abandoned location.

"Decay Movement 4.1"
Matthew Tony Russell 

If you could choose any new skill that you could master, which would you choose?
Film Photograph.

When you were a child, what did you want to be? 
An artist of course.

Who would you like to meet and what question would you want to ask them?
I would love to meet the artist Alexis Harding. I would ask him, “When did you start using gloss paint as your main medium for your paintings?”

What do you consider the greatest invention of all time?
The computer.

What would be your worst nightmare?
Having no paint to create my paintings with.

If you could go down the history books and be remembered for something, what would you want that to be?
I would love my name to go down in history for the works I have made throughout my art career.

"Decay Movement 3.0"
Matthew Tony Russell 

What is your all time favourite movie or tv program?
The original Twilight Zone from the 1950’s to the 1960’s.

If you had to give art students today some advice, what would it be?
Never give up on your work, and always keep going no matter what. 

Where on the web can we find you?

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