Steamy hot drawings were popping up on my instagram and I had to find out what fun I was missing out on. With a few clicks, I located the source – the artist is Matthew Conway from Texas with his endless flow of sexy men, all drawn in the humble media of color pencils.
So Matt when did you start with these sexy drawings? This project started while I was studying drawing in Italy. Searching to understand the feminist idea of the “male gaze” through a queer lens, I asked my straight male friends to pose for me either in their underwear or nude. This exercise attempted to make them feel the objectification and sexualization that women have always dealt with in art but has since evolved into something much more playful and fun – expanding my work to include gay and bisexual men as well to gain a fuller picture of contemporary masculinity.
With all the options available to artists today, tell me why did you choose to work with color pencils? The choice of color pencils came about because they are such an ordinary material. I have always and will continue to think of myself as a painter, but oil paint has such a long and problematic history. I find the medium of oils intriguing, but also wanted to try a something that didn’t have such an academic weight to it. Color pencils read as juvenile, as outsider art, as non-professional art. I wanted to make something that would present itself as fine art with this “low art” medium and now I love using them!
Do you prefer to draw from live models or from photos? Usually there is a photoshoot with the model first, keeping this part really loose, not giving it too much direction and hoping the model will forget they are being photographed. We have a few beers, and have a conversation throughout. I am also trying to get to know them as a person and want their personality to come out in the drawing. It is better to happen upon an image that works rather than trying to force it, plus stumbling upon something interesting usually works best for me.
Who was one of your favorite models so far? That’s a really tough question! I would say the models who bring an idea or several to the shoot make things more fun, my focus is to treat the model as a collaborator. I always want the work to be fun, sexy and cool – the models that feel this vibe tend to be the easiest to work with. The aim is to capture what appears to be the most interesting or attractive elements of each guy and that results in the better drawings.
Who is still on your list to model for you ? Everyone!
With the current political trends in the USA, is it becoming more difficult to connect with venues to exhibit your works or has it created more interest in them ? Without falling into a pit of despair about the recent election, I will say it has made it more important that ever for artists to make queer work. In the face of those that wish to silence us, or to roll back the many hard fought victories we have won in recent years, our very existence and the product of our creativity is a political act of dissent.
Speaking of, I heard that you were recently part of an exhibition during Art Basel in Miami. Miami was both an amazing and crazy experience – art, artists and exhibitions took over most of the city! My presentation was at The Gaythering Hotel in Miami Beach with other incredibly talented queer artists – it was a fun event in a very dynamic environment.
Interview: Black Boot
Keep up with Matthew’s newly drawn dudes @: instagram.com/matteattack