American artist Hyland Mather, aka X-O went to Colorado State University and received a B.A. in Philosophy with a focus on Aesthetics. He has exhibited recently in New York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, and Eugene, Oregon. Besides this he is the founder and director of Andenken Gallery in Amsterdam, where he is representing works of other artists.
One of Mathers big passions is to create street art installations made out of junk from the city, field and the forest. With his project ‘The Lost Object’, Mather finds, hunts, collects and arranges objects and whatever elements that have been discarded or abandoned by others and transforms the objects into art pieces. This creative recycling process is a discovery that always includes an element of surprise, since the outcome depends entirely on the ‘lost objects’ he finds.
Hyland Mather is no stranger to the Trailerpark Festival universe. He exhibited at Trailerpark Amsterdam and at Trailerpark Festival 2015 where he decorated the entrance mural, and at this year's Trailerpark festival he designed the Rebel Stage.
Conversation with The Lost Object
Where are you from and where do you currently live?
I live in Amsterdam. I was born in Oregon, raised in Alaska, and lived in Colorado and California as a young man.
When did you become an artist and what was your first project?
I've been an artist for 20 years or more...but I didn't start taking my current path sincerely until about 3 years ago. I was mostly concentrating on my gallery called Andenken and really focused on other artist's careers...which I still do of course, but now I do that in tandem with my own creative stuff. Years ago, I started off making these funny little paintings...so that was kind of my first project...they were like cartoons to make you laugh, they were called 'little guys'. I don't really make those anymore, but it was a fun place to start. If you want I can send you some images of those. ::))
Did you study art in school, if so where?
I studied Philosophy and Aesthetics in Colorado at Colorado State University...but mostly I was studying girls and playing rock and roll.
What inspires you? Any particular artists?
I love Ellsworth Kelly, and Sol Lewitt. I admire the scope of Christo / Jean Claude . I like some contemporary abstract street artists also, like 108, and Nelio. I also like some contemporary illustrative masters like Evan Hecox and Geoff McFetridge .... Honestly the longer I think about it the more I could say. I love Andy Goldsworthy too.
What are some of the ideas behind your work?
When I'm at my best on the street, I am very zen about my work. I use whatever is around to make something I enjoy and I hope other people enjoy, but I try and face this aesthetic challenge in terms of balance. There is a zen expression 'The Usefulness of the Useless' and I meditate on that. I try to accept what there is for me to use, tools and materials and space, and try and create something that feels like balance to me.
Also, the nature of my current work under the idea of The Lost Object is to always try to create from materials I find, be it wood, paint, paper, cardboard, metal whatever. I don't like to buy things to make my work. I support that freaking capital machine in every aspect of my life and for some reason I want the creative part of me to remain unsoiled by shopping. On the flip side of that, I do like it when people buy my work. hahaha.
I also would consider accidental collaboration a huge part of my work. I like to collaborate with nature. Nature marks everything with time and weatehr. This is true for people to stones to trees to garbage. Nature is my favorite collaborator but sometimes I do collaborate with construction workers who will never be aware of it. For example, I did thru construction dumpsters for materials, and sometimes there are little pencil scribbled notes on the discarded materials...mostly numbers and measurements...I like it when these scribbles show up in my work...marks made by other humans that wind up in my 'art' work.
In the gallery, more and more I am trying for excellence and precision in my work. It's tough because I want the gallery works to be high quality, but I also don't want them to completely loose the feeling of 'lost objects'. There is something that must remain gritty about the works in order for them to be true to the ideas. I am shooting for a kind of natural state minimalism if that makes any sense.
I guess lastly I am also increasingly becoming interested in the high tech machines available to artists these days; laser cutters, cnc routing machines, 3d printers, LED Lighting etc etc. I have a desire to explore these realms and to couple technology with my work in a way that does not betray the base concepts.