Oh, have we got lakes. According to Minnesota’s license plates, we’ve got 10,000 of them, but the Department of Natural Resources says there are far more, 11,842 to be precise, and that only counts lakes 10 acres or bigger.
Likewise, Minnesota has 10,000 artists — at least. Here’s how we know: mnartists.org, the free online arts community co-created by the Walker and the McKnight Foundation, just signed up its 10,000th artist, Matthew Malette, a painter and mixed-media artist living in St. Louis Park. He says he joined mnartists.org to both show his work and connect with other artists. “It didn’t hurt,” he adds, “that mnartists.org is free, well-designed, and associated with the Walker Art Center.”
To commemorate this splendid occasion, Matthew has agreed to participate in a Q&A (including one A where, it so happens, a lake factors heavily).
Meet the 10,000th artist…
Who is your favorite villain of fiction?
I would have to go with Destro, of G.I. Joe fame. Who wouldn’t want a well cared for chrome head?
What global issue most excites or angers you?
If you could throw a dinner party for anyone in the world, who would you invite?
Bono, Barack Obama, Marcel Dzama, R.T. Rybak, the Arcade Fire, Anne Lamott, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Spike Lee, Wes Anderson, Rob Bell, Ammie Mann, Jasper Johns, Bob Dylan, Kate Winslet, John McCain, Jon Favreau, Beck, Thom Yorke, Cornel West, James Turrell, Krista Tippett, and Andy Goldsworthy, and of course my wife and friends. And all of you. Join us, won’t you?
What’s your favorite place to people-watch?
The CC Club on Lyndale would be my choice.
What’s your most prized possession, and why do you prize it so?
A leather jacket that is full of character marks and creases. It was left at a deli where I was gainfully employed and while I did not make a whole lot of money there, I was given the jacket.
How do you like to unwind/relax?
I like to run or play ultimate Frisbee… or both.
What is one of the most unexpected influences on your art?
Lake Superior. There’s a good chance I may have never been born were it not for the big lake. My parents took a late honeymoon sailing adventure around a majority of L. Superior. I also grew up in the the Keweenaw Peninsula, which is part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. So for 18 years, I was surrounded by Superior. I suppose it effects my art because it effects my psyche in some way — it is vast, haunting, violent, and yet pure.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
In Minnesota, I could use a couple inches in height. The average height in the US is 5′ 10″, whereas in Minnesota it has got to be about 6’2″.
What three items can always be found in your refrigerator?
An egg, a vanilla yogurt, and a beer.
If you could have any career, what would you choose?
So far, I think I am going to stick with the one I have: Art Teacher. Or, I guess, Electric Sports Car tester.