|Artist Matthew Hines at Magnet. PHOTO BY RINK
Magnet, the Castro hub of health and wellbeing for gay/bi men, is displaying Matt Hinesâ âStrange Fruitâ series. Hines uses deconstructed modern mythologies to convey the wonder and horror of life in the 21st century using collage from discarded items found on the streets of SF.
Originally from Akron, Ohio, Hines was raised in the staunch heartland, which bred an active imagination and an innate desire to create, he says. After receiving his BFA in Painting in 1996 from the Columbus College of Art and Design, he moved to the Bay Area, and has ânot looked back since.â
âI have been drawing since I could hold a pencil, and have come to the realization that it is the only thing that brings me true joy,â Hines tells me. He is inspired by comic books, fashion magazines, Greek Mythology, and the cult of celebrity. Currently he finds himself influenced by the works of Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec and Bacon.
âThe creative process always begins with a desire to interpret some personal experience in a manner that will resonate with the viewer,â he elaborates. His technique begins in graphite, then ink, followed by blocking in passages with acrylic, finishing with the collage elements.
His philosophy in life? âChange is growth, learn from your mistakes, and strive to create light in this world.â He attempts to convey the trials, tribulations and triumphs of life as a HIV-positive man in the 21st century.
He describes his pieces. âWerk Of Artâ was created as part of the audition process for Season 2 of Bravo-TVâs Work Of Art. Hines was one of 40 artists selected out of 4,000 hopefuls. âUltimately I did not make the final cut of 15 participants,â he relates.
âIt Gets Bitterâ stems from his visceral frustration and disappointment with the âIt Gets Betterâ campaign. âEssentially we are leaving our youth to fend for themselves against horrific abuse with a paper thin promise that eventually life will âget better,ââ he states. âThe abuse endured by LGTBQ youth eventually manifests itself in self destructive means. There is no excuse for this neglect to continue. It is my belief our children need our protection now.â
âCandy Ass Landâ depicts the plight of the queer community in the age of HIV, and is based on the classic childrenâs game âCandyland.â The game was originally created in 1945 for children with polio to play; his version is for PWAs to contemplate the lessons learned from the virus. âBeforeâ is a self-portrait depicting Hines before his sero-conversion, and an attempt to make peace with that person.
âEarths Zero Through Xâ depicts various incarnations of himself from possible parallel universes, ranging from the Dawn of Creation past the Renaissance and into the future in outer space. This is available as a limited edition signed print for $50 to benefit the AIDS Lifecycle (contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
â39 Milesâ is his take on the 49-Mile Drive signs, while exploring how the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Hines says he would like his viewers to leave with the feeling of being a little less lonely in the world.