Check out this interview with Denver artist Matt O'Neill, whose show Thrift Store Sublime is running at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center through July 13.
Since relocating to Colorado from Chicago in the 1980s, Matt O’Neill has remained one of our region's most exciting artists. Naturalistic realism has defined his style for most of the time since and has earned his the high regard of many longtime regional artists, curators, and art critics. Whether portraits of his neighbors in the Five Points area of Denver or of spotty teenagers taken from yearbook photos, O’Neill’s subjects often derive from cultural nostalgia combined with surrealism and humor. In many of his paintings, such as the FAC's F.F.A. Sweetheart, the O'Neill takes a uniquely western subject and renders it through the prism of Picasso’s simultaneous reverence and bizarrely mocking abstraction. This kind of work set O’Neill on a path to some of the more purely abstract works he has focused on for the past decade.