MATEO DINEEN
Interview with the US artist

Mateo Dineen interview

Mateo takes snapshots of a parallel universe.
He is also an handsome artist. Learn that and more in this nice interview.
More about Mateo.

Mateo Dineen inbread drawing

Mateo Dineen inbread drawing

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF
If you don’t already know me, I can tell you that I am extremely handsome and charming. However if you DO know me, please don’t tell the others otherwise.
I am an artist living and working in Berlin. I grew up in California, near San Francisco.
Here are some random things about me:

  • I carry a pen and a stack of small notecards wherever I go.
  • I don’t like mornings.
  • I once had a job making balloon animals.
  • I used to catch tadpoles and watch them grow legs.
  • I love antique shops.
  • My middle name is NOT Mud.
Mateo Dineen painting

Mateo Dineen painting

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
Snapshots from a parallel universe. That pretty well captures what it’s about. It’s everyday moments in a world very similar to our own, with characters oddly familiar. They have the same emotions and problems we have, but they are often rather furry, or made of metal.

Mateo Dineen monster character

Mateo Dineen monster character

PLEASE SHARE WITH US YOUR WORKING PROCESS
For me it all begins with a sketch. Sometimes it’s a doodle drawn without much direction. Other times it’s a constructed drawing coming from a direct idea. I have pages and pages of these drawings. Before I begin a painting, I usually flip through my stack of drawing and try to feel a connection to one of them. It needs to make me laugh or feel something, as if I’ve seen it for the first time. If it does, then I know it’s probably an image that others will connect to as well. I then dig through my collection of old boxes and wooden desk drawers. I look for the piece that connects best with the sketch. Once I’ve chosen the piece of wood, I often cover it with collage and do my best to enhance whatever patina the wood already has. Lastly I bring the main figure elements in and marry it all together into the final painting.

Mateo Dineen surreal art

Mateo Dineen surreal art

HOW DOES YOUR ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE YOUR ART?
My environment plays a big role in my work. If you see my work up close, you’ll see that I’m never painting on fresh canvas. My paintings are made on worn-out box lids, wooden suitcases, and rusty tin signs (to name a few examples). These objects come directly from flea markets here in Berlin. These old relics are very inspiring to me. The collage I use for the background is collected from flea markets too. I’m often entranced by the discarded letters, blueprints, and maps that I find. They tell a story of another time. These items enrich my work, and sometimes inform it.

Mateo Dineen artwork

Mateo Dineen artwork

WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
I have many. Here are few in order of appearance…Van Gogh, N.C. Wyeth, Ray Harryhausen, Edward Gorey, Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, The Muppets, Bugs Bunny, Star Wars, Tim Burton, Brad Holland, Peter De Sève, Joe Sorren, Mark Ryden, Jeff Soto. The list goes on.

ANY LAST WORD?
I think it is important to point out that the creative process is what brings me the most satisfaction. By that I mean to say that the end result is not the primary goal. The finished painting is just the evidence of creation. The main goal is the act of creation itself. It is these moments of creation that I yearn for. I love to lose myself in the process. It’s like magic.

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