We recently stumbled across the insanely beautiful work of Trek Matthews, a painter, illustrator and maker based in Atlanta, USA. All it took was a single little peep at one of his mesmerising isometric, pastel pieces and we were ripping through his back catalogue faster than an express Shinkansen.
Trek Matthews work is impressive and shape-shifting, whether its a small scale gouache on paper, an unexpected installation piece or monster-sized murals on the side of a building. We were surprised to read that his journey to painting was quite sudden and fast tracked. Originally studying design at uni, Trek was focussing on drawing and helping out the guys at Living Walls when, after a short time, he was thrown completely in the deep end and invited to paint for them. That’s next level learning on the fly!
His personal pieces are adapted from memories of objects and environments; reflecting on these and churning them out in his minimal and abstract aesthetic. In a recent project, Trek has been painting and re-envisioning the subway stations of Tokyo (see, that bullet train reference back there was relevant after all). Inspired by a short stint in Japan in 2014, they’re delicate gouache studies of the shapes, lines, and shadows of Tokyo station layouts and entrances. The pastel palettes are so subtle, almost mirage-like or akin to an anime dream sequence. Transparencies and washes of solid, consistent colours combined with strong geometric forms keep the works grounded. Urban structures you perhaps wouldn’t think too deeply about, reinvented as playful structures and mere shapes. Yes, on top of all this aesthetic goodness, they’re a load of fun too.