Matt King paints from his subconscious

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matt king, figurative painting, contemporary art
Interview | Munchies Art Club Magazine

Matt King artist and curator painting extraordinary paintings

The Munchies art club is excited to share with you our newest discovery Matt King a contemporary Artist and Curator with more than 20 years of professional practice and gallery experience.

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Matt King | Image courtesy the artist

Matt currently lives and works in London, UK.

The artist is a recent MA Fine Art Painting graduate from UAL Camberwell College of Arts, where he was selected for the prestigious London Grads Now. 21 exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery.

This year the artist has been featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Tatler. 

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"Bear King" oil on canvas - 150 x150 cm - photo Ben Deakin 

Q&A with Matt

1. Growing up at what point did you realize that you were going to be an artist? Did your family support you? Was/is there anyone else in your family who was connected with the arts?

Some of my earliest memories are of me drawing and selling these drawings to my father for 10 cents.

He was my very first art buyer. I must have been around 4 years old.

I also have a memory of me getting into trouble for stealing a roll of toilet paper and making dinosaur sculptures to play with. 

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“Wicked Fairy Tale” – oil on canvas – 41 x 51 cm | Image courtesy the artist

I also have a memory of making swirly lines in my ice cream bowl.

I can recall being amazed how the lines on the bottom of the bowl overlapped and created depth.

I didn’t realise at the time I was experimenting in abstract art. I think I’ve always been an artist.

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“Amplification” oil on canvas - 122 x 152 cm - photo Ben Deakin 

I believe I get it from my mother. She was the artist, but I don’t think she realised it.

The birthday cakes she made me were amazing. I remember a Smurfs cake she made one time. She could draw very well.

I come from a working-class family, so art wasn’t really seen as a viable profession, so it wasn’t really supported, but I did it anyway, like most artists do

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“Complex” - oil on canvas - 122 x 152 cm - photo Ben Deakin

2. You started your studies in the States at the West Chester University in Pennsylvania in 1997, and recently received your MA Fine Art at the Camberwell College of Arts in London. How did you decide to move to London and how has that move and change affected you and your work?

Yes – I received a BA in Communications Studies at WCU, the first time around – it was a local State College. 

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"Projection" - oil on canvas - 152 x 122 cm - photo Ben Deakin

My brother had gone there, and it was near my home, so I applied and got in.

I have fond memories of my time there. I was still young and listened to my parents at the time, that studying art wasn’t going to support me, so I thought Communications would get me a good job.

After graduation in 1997, I moved to Philadelphia and went on to have these so-called good jobs, but I wasn’t happy working in an office.

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“Giant” - oil on canvas - 102 x 92 cm - photo Ben Deakin 

Eventually, still in my twenties – I returned to West Chester, which was only a 40 minutes’ drive from Philadelphia and got a job working in a Dutch Art gallery.

The owner of the gallery, a Dutchman named Ben Gall, took me under his wing, and he taught me everything from hanging shows to selling the art.

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 “Feelings Grow like Feet” – oil on canvas - 51 x 41 cm | Image courtesy the artist

I also freelanced at other art galleries, preparing, and hanging shows.

After working in the art world for several years, I decided to go back to WCU and earn my BFA in Studio Arts and a minor in Art History.

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“Objective Level” - oil on canvas - 128 x 150 cm - photo Ben Deakin 

It was another great experience. West Chester, Pennsylvania is a vibrant town, with lots of restaurants, cafes, and art galleries.

I worked for Ben until he closed the gallery and moved away – I worked for him for about ten years.

I then rekindled a relationship with an old girlfriend in London, visited her, and we decided to get married, so I moved to London.

We are still married and living in London. I eventually got my British citizenship.

In London, I worked for a large Theatre building sets and then an art gallery. 

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“Introversion” - oil on canvas - 152 x 122 cm - Photo Ben Deakin 

I had a few setbacks and dropped out for a while. One of the setbacks was a work-related accident and then a negligent surgery.

I was in a bad place for a while, but fought back, and decided maybe going back to school would help me get back into life, so I applied, and got into UAL Camberwell College of Arts for MA Painting.

From that I was selected to be in the London Grads Now 21 show at the Saatchi Gallery.

That was an interesting experience and learned a lot about the London art world. 

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“Trickster” - oil on canvas -152 x 122 cm - At UAL Camberwell College of Arts Studio | Image courtesy the artist 

Overall, I’ve changed a lot from my experiences in London.

I have become the artist I am today from it. I don’t regret anything, even the dark times.

I know now more than ever who I am, and I accept that person, but am always trying to become a better version of myself.

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“Subjective Level” - oil on canvas - 122 x 152 cm - photo Ben Deakin

3. How and where do you work? Do you have certain routines, times? Could you walk us through a day in your studio? What happens when you are there?

I’m in a bit of a transition phase.

At the moment - I am without studio. I gave my London studio up to return to the States to work and prepare for a show there.

The show will be in West Chester, Pennsylvania in a gallery called the Art Trust.

I just felt it was time to leave my studio behind. I also feel it’s time to leave London.

I’ve been here for 12 years and have grown restless.

There are other cities I would like to explore. 

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"Demiurge" - oil on canvas - 152 x 122 cm - photo Ben Deakin

However, when I was at my studio in London Fields, I would work in the morning.

I would come in with my coffee, light a Tibetan incense, put some music on, and begin to paint.

I’m very direct and intuitive in my painting. I don’t really think. I paint from my subconscious.

I would usually paint for 3 to 5 hours then leave.

I never want to overdo it. I want to express what I’m feeling and leave.

I would usually paint 5 days a week. 

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“Je t’ Adore” – oil on canvas – 70 x 76 cm | Image courtesy the artist

4. Your work is outstanding and has rightly found its way this year in 3 of the world's top Women Magazines: Vogue, Vanity Fair and Tatler, truly impressive! Can you tell us a bit about how that came about and what impact it has left?

Thank you – I appreciate that! They asked me and I accepted.

These are iconic magazines, and it was an honour to be in them.

I’m not sure I’m any different from it, but it has opened some doors for me, and I am very grateful for that.

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“Wolf Puppet” – oil on canvas – 51 x 51 cm | Image courtesy the artist

5. You told me that you would be interested in doing a residence somewhere else. What would the ideal residency look like for you? What is it you are looking for right now?

Yes - I just need to feel inspired again. I am very intrigued by the art coming out of Europe right now.

For example, I would love to live and work in Berlin.

The art coming out of NYC and Los Angeles is also very exciting.

I will probably move back to the States, but would have loved to have moved to Germany, but I am not sure how easy that is now that the UK has left the EU.

I was against Brexit.

flying tiger, red painting, wall art
“Flying Tiger” - 40 x 50 cm - Oil on Canvas | Image courtesy the artist

6. Playlist of the last 5 songs you have been listening to lately whilst painting?

Interestingly, when I painted my last series, for the show in the States, I did not listen to music.

Only the sounds of nature. My studio was in an isolated part of North Georgia.

So, I listened to a nearby creek, bird songs, and the wind blowing through the trees.

However, when I was in my studio in London, the songs I listened to most likely were from T Rex, Bob Dylan, Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Modern Lovers, or Tim Hardin.

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Matt King | Image courtesy the artist

7. Thank you for your time, is there anything else you would like to share with our viewers?

Hmm, not sure, I guess my paintings should tell you anything else you need to know. Thank you for the interview and featuring me!

Follow the artist on Instagram:


University of the Arts London, Camberwell College of Arts, London, UK - MA Fine Art - Painting, 2021: Awarded Merit

West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA - BFA Fine Art - Studio Arts, Minor in Art History, 2009: Awarded Magna Cum Laude, Barnes Foundation Scholarship

West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA - BA Communications, Minor in Instructional Media, 1997: Awarded Cum Laude


2022 – Brick Lane Gallery, Art in Mind, Group show, London, UK (upcoming - August 30th to September 12th)

2022 – The Arts Trust Gallery, Convergence, Group show, West Chester, PA, USA (on now August 10th to September 23)

2021-2022: Saatchi Gallery, London Grads Now. 21, Group Show, London, UK

2021: RAUM Gallery, Pop up solo show, Learning zone, Camberwell College of Art, London, UK

2021: Camberwell Space, Graduate Show, Camberwell College of Art, London, UK

2021: Copeland Gallery, Unmute, Group show, Peckham, London, UK

2017: Lubomirov /Angus-Hughes Gallery, Summer Salon group show, Hackney, London, UK

2017: The View Gallery, Solitude, Solo show, Epping Forest, London, UK

2010: Kati Mac Gallery, Solo show, West Chester, PA, USA

2006: The Art Scene, Solo show, West Chester, PA, USA

2004: Holland Art House, Solo show, West Chester, PA, USA

Big thank you to Matt for sharing his brilliant work with us and our viewers!

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