Open Studios: The Apprentice

Matthew Tierney’s approach to art is innovative to say the least. Raised in Silicon Valley, he was surrounded by the influx of technology and as a result, uses it as a tool to manipulate his process, exploring how we float between the worlds of digital and analog.

He began painting more than 12 years ago while living in Los Angeles, where at the time he was working at Current TV as the youngest features producer in the network’s history. A trip to London inspired his transition from producer to painter; while there, he visited one of the biggest art world influencers, curator and art historian Norman Rosenthal. If you aren’t familiar with his work, Rosenthal is the former director of the Royal Academy of Arts in London who helped cultivate the careers of contemporary artists including Julian Schnabel, Francesco Clemente, Anselm Kiefer and more. He also owns one of Tierney’s paintings.

Another prolific British art icon who would later serve as a direct mentor is David Hockney. “Spending time with him is magical,” says Tierney. “He is very open to sharing ideas.” Hockney, who he also considers a friend, pushed him to experiment with modern materials. In 2017 Tierney had a show at the Toth Gallery in New York featuring a series of dancers that took him almost two years to complete. His lengthy development of the collection can be attributed to the more than 200 steps taken to finish each piece. “I layered hundreds of steps to make each piece that included drawing, painting and photographing,” says Tierney. “I like the idea that people can’t tell the medium.”

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