On a cloudy March afternoon, I had the pleasure of having a talk with Matt Allport, down at the incubator. Before this I only had a chance to meet him once at the Antimatter exhibition, but I had heard a lot about him. So I finally made it down to the historic village that afternoon…There was no one present, the parking lot was empty, and the iron gates of The Incubator were slightly parted open.
I knocked a few times on the metal before I got a confirmation that Matt was in his studio. As I entered into one of the crate cubicles…the first thing I noticed was an inhuman pile of Lift-plus cans…several half-finished paintings, and small upcycled bottle-cap and wire sculptures…
And a small armchair in the corner of all this awesomeness…
The interview began thus….
Q: How did you get involved with the arts and then eventually ended up at The Incubator?
A: I started with a Polytechnic course, before that I wasn’t really that into art and that sort of thing. But I needed something to do. I remember I have always liked the piano when I was at school and was more into music instead. I did enjoy art, but it was just painting in a really structured environment at school. Later on I really wanted to learn to draw, so I thought the polytechnic course would teach me that…
Well, It didn’t! (laughs)
But I learnt that I really didn’t need to know how to draw to make really cool art. We learnt about Dadaism, and I thought let’s just do some crazy shit.
But then I went over to Hamilton, to go Wintec for a bit, but it was a totally different environment and I fell out of creative things for a little bit.
Then I got a job, like a job-job….for about a year or so, and just worked full time, then after a while I returned from Hamilton and was a bit directionless…I came across a welding course by Nic Clegg, just a short free course and that kind of re-sparked my interest in art again. Then I heard there was a space open at the incubator, and then here we are.
Q) That’s cool man!…So on top of welding sculptural stuff you’re also into making like paintings as well?
A: I mean that’s what I was basically doing before I got into the sculptural stuff…
Q: So…How would you describe your style?
A: I don’t know…..(laughs)….”Weird and Wonderful” if I had to put it down…
Q) That’s a nice way of putting it. What about your influences?
A: Well, all sorts of stuff, 20th Century…that’s kind of when things started to get more interesting in art, I am really into surrealism.
Q) Like Dali?
A: Yea, that stuff man, Dali is one of my favourites, I have a big book of his paintings. I saw one when they had an exhibition up in Auckland. And it was like super tiny – In the book you look at it, and the print is gigantic, and then you look at it and it was like this little rectangle.
Q) That’s so strange I did not know that…I always imagined them to be HUGE!
A: That’s kinda what makes it more impressive I reckon, the same with the Mona Lisa…I guess Da-Vinci is a big influence in that as well. One can always aspire to get even a millionth as good as that. (laughs)
Q) What about influences outside of art?
A: Oh, just like, Popular Culture really. Like TV shows, movies, and internet crap…(Laughs)
Q) Any particular TV shows or movies that you are a big fan of?
A: Well I haven’t been watching movies lately. But I really love Game of Thrones, which seems to be a common one nowadays (Laughs) I love animation as well….like Archer…and have you heard of Rick and Morty? That’s one of favourites. It’s kinda hard to describe.
Q) No…I will have to check it out…Are you a fan of Anime at all?
A: Not really…I’ve seen a couple of them, they’ve been alright. Generally not so much.
Q) What about comic books?
A: I like Deadpool…and Batman and those sorts of things. I don’t tend to read them so much anymore but I still love all the stuff surrounding them.
Q) Would you ever be interested in doing a comic book…or something in the vein?
A: Yea, potentially, it’s just a matter of getting enough ideas together to go past issue 1 (laughs) I’ve had ideas for cartoons and stuff that would be cool as well, it’s just about building it up, to more than a few skits in my head.
Q) Right right….(Laughs) So what are your plans for this year?
A: If I can make enough of these sculptures than at-least I would like to put on a show here if I can…I am pretty open to that. And then if I can sell some stuff then I can finance another one later on. But Im not really one for planning. I just have to do it.
Q) So if you were to have an exhibition would it be exclusively sculptures? Or a mixture of sculptures and paintings?
A: Thinking it would mainly be sculptures but right now, I am thinking I will have paintings as background for the different figures, as they are all going to be doing different poses and things like that. So like the landscape for them to stand in, I can do something with spray paint or ink or something!
Q) So one last question…you prefer working in isolation huh?
A: Yea, it’s nice. Like before you came, it was just me and a bird up there tweeting away. So I was just like ‘oh how pleasant’. Yea, I feel like when it’s quiet I just get things done, while if there are other things going on, I get distracted really easily. (Laughs)
You can check out Matt Allport, down @ The Incubator. Keep an eye out for his exhibition when it is announced.
By Dhaivat Mehta:
(Editor, ARTbop Alternative)
Dhaivat Mehta is a film-maker and performance poet, and a member of the Tauranga Writers…Involved with many aspects of local creativity! As an organizer he was responsible for last year’s National Poetry Day event “Caught In The Act” He also raps and does spoken word under the stage name Archaeo