Beauty is everywhere, but not everyone can see it. Life is busy, the days are fast, and we forget to pay attention. An artist is someone who pauses to recognize the beauty and, with an appreciative eye and a skillful hand, makes it their life’s mission to capture it.
Matt Rinn of Slantbrush Studios is a craftsman, sculptor, and painter who finds inspiration in everything from trees to motorcycles. By transforming raw materials into statement pieces, Matt encourages people to notice the latent beauty in the world around them. His custom tables enhance the natural grooves, patterns, and flow of the wood in a way that seems to tell a story.
“Mother Nature did all the hard work,” Matt jokes while running his fingers across an unfinished walnut table.
As a nod to nature, Matt uses influences of the four elements—wind, water, earth, and fire—in his work. When it comes to wood, he tries to use every part, even if it’s spread out amongst multiple pieces. That, and he scavenges materials from places where they’re not being used. When he hears the buzz of a chainsaw, Matt will pipe up and search for its source to see if there’s wood he can reclaim. When he doesn’t have luck there, he’ll drive to his friend’s mill to acquire materials. Then, he gets to work.
Matt’s old house functions as his studio. Whether it’s the kitchen or a bedroom, each room is part gallery, part storehouse, and part workspace. The garage emanates the sweet smell of sawdust, and the Homeowner’s Association has gotten onto him a time or two about the wood that overflows into his driveway.
Matt uses several natural elements to achieve a modern rustic style in his pieces.
Sometimes, a single piece will seamlessly blend metals, acrylics, concrete, and various wood species. Creative work naturally entails some level of risk. To a degree, something new is being brought into existence. That’s why Matt is a firm believer that you have to be willing to experiment in art. One time, when trying a new technique on a table, he wasted 1,800 liters of epoxy—that equates to about $700! However, Matt learned more techniques from the process, making his tables even more unique.
Though there’s a level of creative freedom, Matt tends not to impress his own meaning onto the pieces he creates. Instead, he feels like he is unveiling meaning that’s inherently there. One of his recent favorites, a sculpture entitled The World Within, is a prime example. The reformed Cottonwood tree tells a story about the Arapahoe Indians. When a male got to a certain age in that culture, it was custom to go on a vision quest. In that quest, their goal was to find the most hollow cottonwood tree and make their drums out of it.
“For me, the sculpture symbolizes youth looking forward to the future,” Matt explains. “The tree was dying, but you can see that it was sprouting new growth again on the inside.”
Just as Matt is committed to sharing the stories he finds in the art he creates, he also is committed to sharing the stories of the artists in his community. Matt is on the Board of Directors of CRAC (Castle Rock Artists Cooperative), an organization committed to bolstering the town’s art scene and helping new artists get started. They host pop-up shows in venues around town, including places like Union American Bistro, Ecclesia Market, Pegasus, LostCoffee, and the Rhyolite Gallery in an effort to make Castle Rock even more beautiful.
Matt has several works of art for sale and is available for custom commission projects. Check out his work at slantbrushstudio.com or contact him directly at 720-256-6665.