We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Rogers and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Matt, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’m not sure I chose an artistic career versus an artistic career chose me. I was handed a paint kit in 4th grade and taught the basics of color theory, which colors move back, which colors move forward, which were warm colors, which were cool colors. Once I understood a few basics I couldn’t stop. I chose to take my notes in the margins and use the main page for my drawings. I enjoyed recreating rock and roll album covers on friends’ binders. Art has been with me my whole life, it has been something I can pick up pretty much anywhere. After deciding to go to an art college “SFAI” I think I pretty much set my course for a career. With lot’s of patience and luck I was able to fall into some pretty amazing opportunities. I was lucky to get a job in a gallery where I worked with some artistic heroes, particularly Wayne Thiebaud. I was shown how a career in the arts was attainable with a lot of hard work and dedication. I think when you surround yourself with a group of like minded people sharing similar goals and aspirations you become motivated to achieve your own personal goal. I try to reflect on those who have helped me and remember to pay it forward myself. One of the true of a creative career is that it’s really on you. As a painter you spend a lot of time alone but you’re rarely lonely. It’s important to share your ideas. It helps move your process forward and it’s really what you intended to do as a creative. For me I get a lot of enjoyment out of creating joyful things.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think most art careers starts slowly with a lot of enthusiasm and energy. You use whatever materials are available to you and take inspiration from everything around you. Eventually you hit a rhythm. Something starts to click. You’ll have a reaction from someone that gives you the energy to recreate, reexamine, rediscover. That leads to a series, a group of similar relatable works that can be put together for a show or an exhibition. With any luck you might actually sell a piece. It might be a show in a restaurant or a coffee shop, or in someone’s living room. Hopefully you have some supportive family, friends, community who think that what you’re doing is amazing. Or just a sympathetic neighbour who needs something for their wall in their living room. I think artists try to make something relatable on a human level. This makes it important, and that will translate. Most of my work I try to make joyful. Joy is easily relatable. The everyday challenges are much easier when you love what you’re making and they bring a smile to your face. But then again sometimes that’s the challenge. As far as getting to where I am today professionally I’ve stuck with a gallery, ”Caldwell Snyder” that’s been very supportive I just try to keep up with them. I get excited every morning when I get to my studio. I typically have more ideas than I have time in the day. For me the challenge is staying focused and not getting distracted. I move from project to project in a circular attention deficit disorder kind of manner. Somehow I managed to keep a workflow moving. I guess what makes me proud is when I see a finished exhibition set up under the lights in the gallery with the anticipation of knowing people are going to come in and enjoy. To get anywhere in the art world professionally you have to have patience. It’s hard to even get recognized before you’re 40. Persistence in belief in what you’re doing is imperative. I think the second most important thing is who you choose to work with. Making sure you can trust someone to represent your vision. it’s fun to let people into your creative process and share your creativity but you have to remember to stay true to your vision. It can be a challenge keeping to your own specific directives and not falling for what others would have you do. I would just hope that people enjoy what I make, That’s my story.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I like to hang out in the Silver Lake area. It’s close to the downtown arts district and has great restaurants and killer shops. There’s a good chance you’ll run into rising stars and beautiful people. The energy is fantastic, young, frivolous and fun. I’ll stay at the Silver Lake pool and inn. I usually get provisions for my room at Ehrhorn. They have delicious organic juices, local baked goods and snacks. There’s a sunglasses store called Retro Super Future that sells custom frames inspired by some of the best Hollywood sunglasses of the past. In Los Angeles 90% of your outfit is your sunglasses….so definitely gonna need sunglasses for the morning. From there I’ll walk up to El Condor for crafted margaritas and fantastic Mexican food Where you’ll be greeted by youthful creatives that will joyfully welcome you in. After perhaps over to L and E for some oysters and champagne, maybe a nice little French Chablis. Sit in the crow’s nest balcony looking over the street Looking up at the sunset as the sun goes down you’ll feel like you’re in a scene from a movie as motorcycles rip up the street. For a second dinner I’d head over to Civici project for some delicious fish and unusual white wines. the proprietor runs a small one man show; sometimes his wife is in there helping him as well… be patient it’s worth it. If I’m keeping it local I might do a nightcap at bar Stella. There’s a nice dark lounge there that’s open late. For breakfast I’d head over to Go Getem Tiger for some kind of delicious organic bowl that seems like it’s good for you but probably isn’t. After that I’d probably head downtown to the arts district check out a few of the local galleries. Hauser & Wirth, usually has some kind of outrageous show, and Manuela’s the restaurant inside has a decent Margarita as well! After that I’d bounce across the street to shop at 3.1 Phillip Lim. They have really beautiful casual clothes. For Lunch, perhaps Up to Japan Town for some hand made ramen at Marogame Manzo or sushi at Sushi Gen. After lunch I’d head to the Broad Museum. It’s always free. It’s fun to see what the Sotheby’s Auctions have just been selling. After that if I wanna spend my whole paycheck I’d head over to Dover Street Market and buy a T shirt. For Dinner I’d head over to Rosoblu for amazing handmade pastas and wood fired pizza, perhaps a nice Barolo, then I’d head over to Echo Park to Goldline Record bar. This is a tiny place adorned with thousands of records owned by the landlord who is a record producer, DJ Peanut Butter Wolf. The dJs who perform here can only spin from the library that adorns the walls. Careful…. here the cocktails are super strong. In the morning a nice hangover stroll around the lake or perhaps a hike up to Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign To sweat it out. Then go home hang up your spurs dry out and get back to work.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I guess it started at the beginning with my family. I had a tremendously supportive family which gives one a leg up in the creative world. Working early on at the Paul Thiebaud being surrounded by many inspirational Bay Area artists, Wayne Thiebaud, Chris Brown, Nathan Oliveira, Michael Tompkins, to name a few. More recently I’ve worked with a very inspirational group of local dedicated artists that work through an organization called Nimbus Arts. These are artists that teach in underserved high schools and grammar schools, in community centers to both young and old, bringing the arts to everyone in our community.

Website: www.caldwellsnyder.com / www.mattrogersart.com

Instagram: @cabscab

Twitter: csabscab

Image Credits
Matt Roberts portrait and art images, courtesy of Briana Marie Photography
Images of Matt Roger’s recent collaboration with accessory designer Tyler Ellis, courtesy of Tyler Ellis

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.