Artist Matte Stephens has worked with a variety of clients such as IBM, Disney, Boston Globe and American Express. His paintings have graced the spaces of Jonathan Adler, Rare Device and Velocity Art and Design.
Matte lives and works in a beautiful mid-century modern home in the southwest corner of Portland, Oregon. His studio is warm and cozy, and filled with objects that tempt and tease the eye. I spoke to Matte about his inspiring workspace and it’s effect on his painting.
How long have you been working from home? Around 15 years. My first real space was a basement with no furniture and canvases on the floor. I’m very happy with the way it is now.
What do you like most about your workspace? I like that it is small. I have had a large workroom and it was hard for me to keep up with everything I need. Now I have everything within arms reach. I have really enjoyed the Eames Storage Units. I keep all of my art supplies in the one right of my desk and it really helps keep my room tidy and looks great. Organizing my workroom has always been a challenge. I work in a traditional medium, so there is a lot of stuff that goes along with it.
Looking around your studio it’s obvious you have a love for mid century design. How and when did you first become interested in the furniture of this time period? I was introduced by a librarian in my home town in Alabama when I was around 20. I had found a copy of The Herman Miller Collection published by Schiffer Books and I have loved everything mid century modern ever since. After that one of my first art dealer’s father was a Herman Miller representative during the 50′s 60′s and 70′s in northern Alabama. He had all sorts of mid century things in his home and office. He gave me my first Eames shell chair.
What are some of your favorite objects in your studio? I really love a pair of wooden eggs that I have that are attributed to Alexander Girard, two 1960′s elves that I have had for years that bring me luck, a few vintage Herman Miller ads signed by Irving Harper who has been very kind to me over the last few years with his time, advice and friendship. [Harper designed Herman Miller's logo]
Do you feel that your working environment has any influence over your painting? To me it’s the most important thing when working at home to have an inspiring workroom. I spend a lot of time in the room so I have tried to make it as inspiring and comfortable as possible. As you can see I love mid century design and I feel its one of my main influences. Being able to live with and work with good design makes everything more efficient and it’s just great stuff.