Anne Kelly (00:12):
Welcome to Art in The Raw. Art in The Raw is a series of conversations with creative people. And tonight I’m excited to introduce you to Matt Suhre, I’m your host Anne Kelly, you might be wondering who I am in a nutshell, I’m someone that has just been in love with art and music. Most of my life, about 20 years ago, I moved to Santa Fe New Mexico to further immerse myself in the art scene and to attend art school. I’ve now been working in the professional gallery world for about 15 years now. And I started Art in the Raw about halfway through 2020 as a way to keep people connected and inspired. If you’d like to know more about me, take a look at the description below, and there’s a link to an interview or two, but in the meantime, I’m excited to introduce you to Matt. Welcome Matt.
Matt Suhre (01:18):
Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Anne Kelly (01:21):
Yeah. Thanks. Thanks for joining. So where are you today?
Matt Suhre (01:25):
This is my home office. It’s no where I take photos and keep a lot of my tools and, and also where I shove everything when I need to clean up for guests,
Anne Kelly (01:37):
Places like that. So you describe yourself as an artist and a craftsman. I know photography’s been a big part of your practice over the years.
Matt Suhre (01:50):
We can go back to high school for this story. I really fell in love with photography in the 10th grade. You know, we had a traditional dark room there on campus. I really just fell in love with it, the red light and the dark room and the, uh, you know, just the magic of putting the blank paper in the tray and watching it turn into a photograph is so fun and the smells and everything. It was very sensory kind of process. And so I pursued photography for years. I studied it in college and went on to run the dark rooms for the Santa Fe photo workshops. And this was right at the birth of digital photography, which is a very exciting thing. And, you know, at the time it was very controversial and you know, pretty much now everything is digital, but for me personally, that’s when photography turned into more of like a computer job, you know, it’s just, you’re just on your computer all the time. And that is not as, um, it’s interesting to me is the dark room and the film. So I just, I kind of, I really struggled with that. And I really struggled like with my identity as a, as a human being, because I had always identified as a photographer and it was something that I just like didn’t enjoy doing anymore.
Anne Kelly (03:16):
You could relate. Cause I was first introduced to photography at a young age, in the dark room and just a really, it’s a very different experience.
Matt Suhre (03:27):
Well, and yeah, and the thing is that practically the experience is sitting in front of a computer. You know, it’s probably not that different from being like a banker or being anything. It’s all, everything is just in the computer. Now working with my hands, it was something that the dark room allowed you to work with your hands, as well as your head and your heart and get into it with the computer. It just seemed like office work. Sure. And
Anne Kelly (03:54):
That’s not really why you fell in love with photography.
Matt Suhre (03:57):
There was so many layers to it. You think about the photo, you compose it, but then you go in there and work with your hands and make something, turn, uh, an idea into reality, bring something into existence that didn’t exist before with digital, you know, like you still create images, but there’s like, it’s in a way, like where are they? There’s no, there’s no piece of film. You can hold up to the light.
Anne Kelly (04:22):
I think just the process of shooting is a little different as well.
Matt Suhre (04:26):
Oh yeah. Remember a film budget, you know, like I think about that when you, when I get a job to do an editorial portrait, which I get, I do get from time to time and am I still love it? I love working with people, but yeah, when you had maybe three rolls of film, three times 36 to get it right and no, no little preview, you better
Anne Kelly (04:50):
Make sure you got that. Right.
Matt Suhre (04:52):
You know, I always made sure to get a shot of the person you get way far away and just get a shot of them standing in the doorway or something of an interesting building just in case, you know, cause those you could always get right. They could be frowning, they could be blinking, whatever. Some, you know, some people that were just not comfortable in front of the camera.
Anne Kelly (05:12):
I think probably a lot of people I would, I would, I would say
Matt Suhre (05:16):
Maybe, well back then too, you know, it was like, it was a big deal. Cause I had to bring lights. Nobody had, uh, iPhones, you know, there was no such thing as digital. So you just, it was just a big deal
Anne Kelly (05:29):
And more are more comfortable in front of the camera. Now that everybody has a phone on their camera and they’re taking selfies and pictures of their friends all the time. And
Matt Suhre (05:39):
It’s funny, you said everybody has a phone on their camera. Yeah,
Anne Kelly (05:42):
Exactly. So maybe that’s the way I see it.
Matt Suhre (05:48):
Nope. Nobody uses the phone it’s or it’s one of the least used features on the device
Anne Kelly (05:56):
Doing a little research prior to this, when you were in high school, studied to be a pyrotechnic engineer.
Matt Suhre (06:04):
Well, that was one of the options. Yeah. I mean, I was really interested in, in chemistry. One of my favorite subjects, I went down to New Mexico tech and Socorro and that was something that they did down there and it just seemed like a cool thing
Anne Kelly (06:20):
Matt Suhre (06:22):
Yeah. You know, I just decided to go that path to UNM, which has a great photography program and a great fine arts program. Something that I’ve not regretted I’ve, it’s been fun trying to live a creative lifestyle, trying to make money with creativity instead of
Anne Kelly (06:40):
Being a banker or yeah.
Matt Suhre (06:44):
One of these jobs that involves using a computer.
Anne Kelly (06:47):
I had to study with some great professors at UNM.
Matt Suhre (06:51):
I really did. Patrick Nakatani just passed away. One of the greats, the New Mexico greats, um, Barrow, Betty Hahn was one of my favorites because she was a, a big influence. She was one of the first people to ever buy art from me. So that was, that was pretty neat.
Anne Kelly (07:11):
Wow. That’s a huge honor.
Matt Suhre (07:13):
When I was studying at UNM, they had a course called non silver, which now they call alternative process because of course everything is on silver, right? So this was van cyanotypes I don’t think we did platinums because it was too expensive gum by chromate and you know, of course we’re fortunate enough to have Bostik and Sullivan here in town where the primary suppliers of all these chemicals for all these antique photo processes, when you’re in college trying to graduate, you just take every class that you’re interested in. And I took these non silver classes as sort of, um, electives, I guess maybe they would have been called. I don’t think Betty Hahn taught the class, but I knew her. She had taught maybe an introduction to photo or photo to sort of just knew her as, as a teacher, but in one of the big survey classes.
Matt Suhre (08:07):
But one of her graduate students was teaching us the non silver stuff. Now in a way the technical aspect of coding papers and getting perfect exposures. I was not that great at, but making photograms was something that I loved and you don’t have to be so technically accurate because there’s not a way that it’s supposed to look, you know, you just, you come out with what, whatever it is you come out with and either it works or it doesn’t, I invented a process called the matte of graph, which was, uh, instead of creating your own shadow in the dark room, I always say that a photogram is the art of capturing a shadow, but instead of creating your own shadow, I would go out into the world with this, you know, homemade photo paper and my own shadows to capture. And that was the, that was the difference between a traditional photogram and a mat mammogram for that advanced non silver class.
Matt Suhre (09:06):
We had to have a show and we did, and it was again, like I said, Betty Hahn’s student was teaching it and we all put, put pieces in the show and Betty Hahn came and decided that she had to have my piece. And again, it was a real honor and, and um, all the other students in the class were sort of like, oh wow, like this guy, because they were very serious about the technique about getting everything perfect. And I remember the piece I bought. It was just too long, narrower strips, one with a hammer on this side. And then one, one strip with a bunch of nails on the other side and very simple stuff we had around the house, but you know, a little bit, a little bit conceptual and it was just a cyanotype. I just cut a single mat with two windows in it. Anyways. I was very proud of that moment
Anne Kelly (09:57):
At ease. I’m kind of a big deal and very cool of her to aspire you in the form of, of purchasing a piece.
Matt Suhre (10:06):
It was funny too, cause she was kind of like a real low key. She was like, well, I felt like I had to buy something and picked out one of them and it was mine. So it was good. I was very pleased.
Anne Kelly (10:17):
My, my buddy, Brian Taylor went to UNM, I don’t know what year Betty taught him gum by chromate
Matt Suhre (10:29):
Anne Kelly (10:30):
And then he went on to be a professor as well. Cool. San Diego. So check out that episode on
Matt Suhre (10:37):
Anne Kelly (10:40):
And then, um, Patrick Nakatani you got to study with him,
Matt Suhre (10:45):
Patrick. Nakatani taught us the intro to color class, which was just, I mean, it’s like a pretty cool thing to, to have such big names teaching you that sort of thing. And um, yeah, and again, this was all pre-digital days and this was color. So then no a flight at all in there, you put it in the box and stumble around, feed the paper into the machine and go out the other side and watch it plop out, go back in the dark and get it right. But it was fun, you know, of course in the case of color, rather than contrast and exposure, it’s color balanced and exposure. And I guess it must’ve been contrast you get in the paper, it’s been a long time, but
Anne Kelly (11:30):
I know, I think around the same time period, roughly I was at the college of Santa Fe, David shine bomb and Steve Fitch and Nancy Suiter, Todd, all of our non silver classes.
Matt Suhre (11:44):
Yes. In fact, I met Nancy. We were going to do a D Garrett type thing together because I had made a few of those at the Santa Fe photo. And we kind of, you know, it’s so hard to source all that stuff and to get the right, the plates coated just right. There is a place to coated the plates and you can’t find them anymore.
Anne Kelly (12:06):
So Nancy was my intro to all of that. And I remember at the time buying all of the materials from camera and darkroom, which is still here in Santa Fe, but they’re, their inventory looks a lot different displays. I think there’s, I can’t say I’ve been there recently, but last time there was like a little tiny film corner with maybe one type of paper.
Matt Suhre (12:31):
Yeah. I don’t like one envelope of d76 or something like that back there. I mean, it makes sense. It’s hard to argue the efficiency and the just, I mean, it’s hard to argue for anything other than it’s just, it was, I liked it more. That’s the only thing I got arguing against digital.
Anne Kelly (12:52):
Yeah. Well I always say it depends what you’re trying to do. You do some editorial work.
Matt Suhre (12:59):
Yeah. Like the editorial stuff you can see on my website, they did a lot of scientists for UNM. This I think was a dark matter guy. This guy, again, I think he was a math professor.
Anne Kelly (13:12):
That’s one of the things is though they’re editorial pieces. They’re, they’re still shot with a very creative, I,
Matt Suhre (13:20):
This person, this is some sort of gene sequencing behind her head there. She was a Jean person.
Anne Kelly (13:26):
The work you’ve made recently, I’ve been photograms you’ve made using the cyanotype process, which for those who are not familiar results in basically blue and white imagery, much like a blueprint.
Matt Suhre (13:43):
I got into that when I first, during my college years when I first was taking those non silver classes, uh, the reason I got back into it is I was offered a show at the John Cocteau. I decided to do, um, photograms cyanotype photograms. It was really well received. It was the best, you know, like the most successful show they ever had there. So they gave me another month. I rehung the show with all new stuff and we killed it again the following month. So that was really great. It’s such a natural thing for me to make those, I have so much fun.
Anne Kelly (14:19):
It takes you back to that magic of, of the dark room and you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen.
Matt Suhre (14:28):
Yeah, exactly. If you know, you have to coat the paper yourself, if you start out with watercolor paper and paint the emulsion on there, and then after you do the exposure, how you wash it off in the shower, it is, it’s very tactile and there’s a lot of unpredictability.
Anne Kelly (14:47):
And you started selling, I don’t know if it was maybe after that or around the same time tote bags that had cyanotypes of bags. Oh yeah.
Matt Suhre (14:58):
Um, the bags, the bags bags, I called them. I was just sort of, uh, looking for translucency and again, as, you know, trying to make a living as somebody selling art and selling imagery, you’re just kind of always thinking of things. And I thought tote bags would be a good thing.
Anne Kelly (15:18):
You start making the photograms of the plastic bags on paper before the bags.
Matt Suhre (15:25):
Probably I think, you know what it was I was trying to get, I got a great plastic bag that said, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You know, how they do and a happy, maybe a funny, happy face or something. So I was trying to get a photograph of that. And, um, at some point I thought, oh, you know, what I need to do is put these on the tote bags and that’s been another thing people really have responded to. And they think it’s very funny. I can find the tote bags at modern general. They’re on Seritos right by vinegarette. Yeah. You know, actually they were, they had been buying birdhouses for awhile while start out with birdhouses there. And that was, that’s a whole different trajectory. So I don’t know if you want to go there yet, but,
Anne Kelly (16:09):
And a minute is you have a whole series of basically portraits of remote controls.
Matt Suhre (16:16):
You know, it’s the interface between in humanity and the machine world in a way really where it started for me was I was working as an art handler and going on the road a bunch, delivering big sculptures, uh, driving all over the country and staying in a lot of hotels. And I wanted, uh, a photographic project to work on. I saw a lot of hotel rooms, but something they all had in common was the remote control and the bedspread. So I photographed all these remote controls on the hotel room and bedspreads, what it really did in the beginning more than anything else was reminded me to bring my camera with me on the road because I was going on these road trips. I wouldn’t even bring the camera. It was just good to bring the big camera along with, because there were times, you know, I just would go, you know, travel a thousand miles and not take a single picture.
Matt Suhre (17:14):
It seemed like a waste, the remote control on the hotel bed spread more than anything was a, it made me excited to get into the hotel room, made me excited to get my remote control, get my composition, my picture. And I still do whenever I go and stay in a hotel room. So anyways, when I showed these, I printed up 24 by 36 inch prints of them. So they were really big. You could really see all the like goo goop embedded in between the buttons and stuff like that. They were pretty dramatic. I think they make a good statement altogether. Like just as a group, there are a lot more interesting and you know, the show, I only had 12 or 15 at the time, but I have hundreds of them that now
Anne Kelly (18:01):
Just a giant grid of
Matt Suhre (18:04):
Them definitely call for a grid. Don’t
Anne Kelly (18:07):
They? I think so. Even if it just initially inspired you to bring your camera, that that’s huge, right? Yeah.
Matt Suhre (18:17):
Yeah, exactly. Because it wasn’t like, I would only take pictures of the remote controls for years. I wanted to be a serious artist and the thing is, I’m just, I’m not a serious person. And I find it so much more comfortable to be a smart artist because I’m by nature kind of a smart and stuff like these remote controls. It’s like, I don’t know, there’s a humor to it, you know, like Elliott Erwitt. He’s one of the funniest photographers around and he’s just one of my favorites and people, I think, forget that it’s okay to have a sense of humor in art.
Anne Kelly (18:51):
I really think that art should reflect the person that made the art. Otherwise just not authentic.
Matt Suhre (18:57):
I worked for Glenna Goodacre for almost 20 years
Anne Kelly (19:01):
Much. How you plan to be a pyrotechnic engineer. She wanted to basically do like photo realistic drawings of people, I think for medical purposes.
Matt Suhre (19:11):
Yeah. Textbook illustration, zoology and biology.
Anne Kelly (19:17):
And, and so that was her initial plan and going into arts, but then she was able to expand and kind of move beyond that. And I assume she initially went into that cause she just thought, okay, that’s what I’m going to make a living.
Matt Suhre (19:32):
That’s true. And probably you know, probably at the time where photography is kind of a utilitarian way to illustrate stuff these days, I think drawing at the time was probably similar. But I mean, I think that must have been, I mean, Glen, I must have been a kid like in grade school at the time, because all she was selling paintings and portraits, I think in high school, she was pretty much dedicated to being a, you know, an artist, a professional artist, but a painter, her, um, sculpture teacher in high school or college maybe said, you know, oh, Glenny you can’t see in three dimensions, give it up, keep, you know, keeping a painter, which of course is very, you know, ironic now, oh, for decades, she really did amazing stuff that, that studio, I ended up working for Glenna because the person who ran the Santa Fe photo workshops is married to the person who runs the Glenna Goodacre studio.
Matt Suhre (20:30):
And after I was sort of finished with the, a dark room there at the Santa Fe photo workshops, I was kind of wondering what I was going to do. And she said, you know, why don’t you go work for my husband over there? There, you know, they always need help at the sculpture studio. And that was in like 2000, 2000, 2001, maybe, you know, I went out there and worked for them. I still, I still worked for them really, if they need anything. And I learned so much about art from I, she was, uh, a pro of all pros and she had a team of pros and, you know, it was a nine to five job and it didn’t really matter if you weren’t inspired or whatever, you went in there and you, you work till lunch and you got lunch and then you came back and you worked until five.
Matt Suhre (21:21):
And then, you know, and then you were done for the day and treating art, like a real job was kind of revolutionary to me. There was always stuff to do. And certainly in a sculpture studio, lots of physical labor, but then with an artist at that level, just, you know, maintaining the, um, the marketing and the press and the public relations was a full-time job. And then keeping track of where all the sculptures were in the world was another full-time job galleries, all across the country, everything on consignment, it’s a, it’s a logistical thing to keep track of these things. When I worked for Glenna, that was really the first time I even learned that art handling was a job. The artist is the person in front of the scenes, and you don’t see how many people are behind the scenes supporting the artist. So that was very interesting to learn that there were a lot of jobs sort of, um, art jobs that weren’t actually being an artist
Anne Kelly (22:24):
About the bird pollinator houses. How did that?
Matt Suhre (22:30):
Well, no, I think maybe my neighbor was tearing down something in his yard and there was a bunch of scrap wood out there. I thought, you know, I’m going to make a birdhouse out of this. So I made one or two or three and gave them to my buddies. And eventually that led to one of these bird houses getting into the hands of, or my friend now, but who was the manager over there at modern general? So I’ve made five or six of them and brought them in and they bought them and sort of the rest is history. I’ve been making them for years for them. It’s just one of those things where there’s no rules involved, you just collect some scrap wood and, uh, whatever the materials kind of lead me to make I’ll put together. I just, just recently through Instagram picked up, uh, another gardening store in, uh, Healdsburg, California called mix garden materials.
Matt Suhre (23:29):
They seem to sell well out there too. And so that’s been really fun. I’ve never made 3d art of my own. I’ve always been, you know, photography or printmaking, but, uh, somehow making these little bird houses is very cathartic. It’s just so much fun putting these things together because there’s not, well, I say there’s not a right answer, but it turns out that there is you do have birds do prefer certain specifications working within certain guidelines. You can come up with a pretty creative, fun, little dwellings for these things. The other thing I’ve been making is the pollinator incubators. I call them this provides habitat for local, uh, native bees and pollinators. Uh, this isn’t, you’re not going to get honey out of bees, but it gives the native bees a chance to lay their eggs. Or I should say it gives the native bees a place to lay their eggs. Since we don’t keep a lot of rotten wood and piles of old leaves laying around our gardens, this gives them a simulated Robinwood to, uh, a place for the larva to hatch and a little habitat for these pollinators that are very important. Um, as we all know these days,
Anne Kelly (24:58):
So you have one kind of behind you, are you able to reach that?
Matt Suhre (25:03):
Yeah. This one is just pollinators. Yeah. Basically it’s just ends of scrap. What I found that I drill holes in this one has some old children’s blocks that I picked up somewhere. It’s basically scrap wood. And
Anne Kelly (25:24):
How does that work with the pollinator houses? I feel like the bird houses are a little more obvious. There’s a little hole. The bird goes in
Matt Suhre (25:32):
Different size holes are for different types of bugs. There’s over 5,000 bees native to north America. The honeybee is actually a European thing. Everybody wants to know where the honey, where you get the honey out of these things, but this is a different, different kind of bees. Uh, basically the, the mother just lays her eggs in one of those chambers and then plugs up the hole with either, uh, a up leaf matter, saw dust sand. I’ve seen wadded up grass, sort of, uh, long pieces of grass coiled into little balls stuffed in there, paper, you name it. I just different different bugs use different things. And then at some point that larva or the egg hatches, it turns into a larva. I mean, it depends, there’s different ways for all the different bugs. It’s amazing. It’s like science fiction, these things, but the larva eats through the leaf matter or whatever. Uh, and that gives it enough food to get out to the surface where it turns into a, a mature adult and flies away
Anne Kelly (26:46):
Are into gardening as well. Maybe kind of connected or very connected.
Matt Suhre (26:55):
Yes. Gardening is a way that I express myself creatively as well. You know, there are times as an artist when you’re not as productive as you’d like to be, but working in the garden is I think a way that you sort of get that energy out. I’ve always felt that art is like a way of turning energetic ideas, turning energy into physical form. Einstein told us they’re the same thing, energy and matter, but art is the physical manifestation of ideas working in the garden is a way to express that energy and to, um, you know, to create something that’s beautiful. And the other thing that I like about gardening is you have to think in the fourth dimension, if you’re going to put in a shrub, you have to know how big these things are going to get in two months. Is it still going to be in the sunshine? Is this going to be shaded? So it’s sort of fun to think about
Anne Kelly (27:54):
The gardening also kind of ties back to your cyanotypes. I was looking at, um, some of your images earlier, maybe on Instagram. And it seems like some of the objects that were used in the cyanotype photograms came from the garden and there was a certain use of different types of insects that you’d collected.
Matt Suhre (28:20):
Absolutely. The garden is a huge inspiration for, uh, the subject matter in my cyanotype photograms flowers, leave shapes, any sort of botanical specimens. These are all tend to be very interesting to me, not just stuff from my garden, but other gardens and the road trips I would collect and taking walks with the dog, either here at the dog park, picking up stuff, looking for salvage material, to make my bird houses, um, from or botanical specimens from all over the country.
Anne Kelly (29:00):
A lot of giant Ravens that frequent my backyard. Do you have any bird houses that would be suitable for giant Ravens?
Matt Suhre (29:10):
Gosh, you know, I don’t know if Ravens like houses. Uh, I’ve got some for owls and big woodpeckers that would be size appropriate, but I don’t know. You know, you never hear about a Raven house.
Anne Kelly (29:24):
No, and they might not really even like that, but I don’t know. Maybe there’s something they would like,
Matt Suhre (29:30):
Oh wait, if anybody could appreciate some arts, it would be a Raven. They’re very smart birds. You know, uh, I’ve actually really always had kind of a connection to them. In fact, I could show you, my dad got when we were kids went to Alaska and got us woodcarvings from some native artists up there, but anyways, he got me a Raven and my brother whale. My brother was always very interested in whales, but I was thinking about this the other day, while skiing and watching the Raven surf around up there, it’s just like, they are smart enough to have fun with their life. You know, they’re like they have a very strong play ethic and I do too. And I like that about
Anne Kelly (30:13):
Definitely. So that’s another thing we have in common is the, the mountain sports and the Ravens are definitely up there and the Ravens are in my backyard. And, and I kind of wonder if they’re the same Ravens. Sometimes
Matt Suhre (30:28):
I think about that, I always was thinking about if we can drive Ravens to fly up there, get samples of the snow and bring them down to town. We wouldn’t have to like check the webcam and rely on reports from each other. We would just have a sampling of, uh, the re the, the snow from the mountain right there.
Anne Kelly (30:49):
Perfect. Raven, Ski report, I think we need to make, so maybe if you could make them some sort of awesome house that they would love, they would be inspired to go up and collect it.
Matt Suhre (31:01):
Absolutely. Well, I’m going to look into the specifications that Ravens require for housing, and I will get right on that.
Anne Kelly (31:09):
Then they’ll get us some snow samples. So we’ll know, you know, how early we have to get up there.
Matt Suhre (31:15):
You’d be into it. If we could just figure out how to communicate that with them, I think they would be up for the, for the chore.
Anne Kelly (31:22):
So, so another question I’m always curious about is what people collect. However, I might’ve read that you collect vintage cameras.
Matt Suhre (31:38):
I collect vintage cameras and have for years something, when you’re in photo school, everybody has the old Polaroid sitting on their shelf. And at the time we would just go to thrift stores and, you know, we found all sorts of stuff. Uh, I found I’ve got a little German Minox somewhere in the stack an old spy camera.
Anne Kelly (32:01):
Is it true that you actually have hundreds of them At one point you had? I think 200. I might’ve read.
Matt Suhre (32:12):
Yeah. I mean, right now, I’m going to estimate I’m down to about 40, but yeah. I just love these things. And in the film days, you know, you could take one 20 film and spool it onto the 1 27 reels in these things, or a 35 millimeter film. You could school on to 8 28 schools. So it was just always fun to just be experimenting in the dark room and, um, you know, just playing with old cameras and you never know these low quality plastic lenses sometimes produce interesting results, but you know, you find stuff over the years. That’s the thing about being a collector is that, uh, I become more discerning over the years and where I don’t just buy every, I don’t buy it because it’s a camera.
Matt Suhre (33:09):
Well, um, I would say plants in a way, um, on the road trips. One thing I love to do is stop at nurseries and plant stores in other states, oftentimes I’d be driving out with a truck load of sculptures, but driving back with an empty truck. And it was always fun to pick up, pick up things, um, for the garden, that stuff you can find locally tends to be stuff that does well in gardens here. But with a little more attention, you can get a lot of, a lot more variety than you’d find just locally. And every place has their own sort of specialty plants that kind of show up in every garden. It was always fun to stop at nurseries and see what they have that we can’t get locally.
Anne Kelly (33:56):
Do you have a favorite plant that you might’ve picked up on the road?
Matt Suhre (34:00):
I love the citrus plants. I brought back a lot of citrus from Florida, and I’ve killed a lot of citrus plants from Florida. People say, gosh, you probably never kill any plants. You’re such a good gardener, but the secret is like, you know, you just have to kill enough plants to where you have enough that have survived, that it looks like you have a full garden. It’s a real kind of a war of attrition
Anne Kelly (34:27):
And the places you’ve traveled to for, for work or other reasons. Is there a favorite or a favorite place that you maybe can’t wait to go back to?
Matt Suhre (34:37):
No, you know, it’s funny. I tracked so much of my traveling was just on the highway. There was just a lot of driving, which I enjoy, you know, I love listening to books on tape who go to all these great sort of vacation venues off season, because we would want to be, get all the good art there in time for their big tourist season. So like, I’ve been to Nantucket in the winter time and, and, uh, you know, Florida during hurricane season. And I enjoy, um, being in motion and traveling on the road in a way it doesn’t even matter what the destination is.
Anne Kelly (35:14):
Just the act of traveling.
Matt Suhre (35:16):
Yeah. Just being, just being mobile is fun, much like working on a computer is kind of like what the reality of so many jobs are these days. Like I bet being a spy, being a novelist, being a photographer, it’s probably all like just sitting at a computer, you know, traveling and being, staying in a fancy hotel is a lot like, you know, staying at a fancy hotel in Rome is pretty similar to staying at a, not so fancy hotel and tucomearry there’s like a bathroom and a bed and a shower and a TV and a remote control,
Anne Kelly (35:53):
Don’t forget the remote control.
Matt Suhre (35:55):
Right. And so like in kind of in a real basic practical sense, it’s not that different. So I don’t know, but I do, I do enjoy being on the road, uh, and on a road trip with a good book or a good song and a constantly changing view. And it’s a good space for me
Anne Kelly (36:16):
Done a few artists fairs. What was that like for you?
Matt Suhre (36:21):
Oh, that’s fun. You’re working in the arts over the past decades now. It’s you get so comfortable with your spiel. There was a time when I was first, you know, fresh out of art school and really took that stuff very seriously. And yeah, but you know, you do enough of those shows to where you can just, you can get very comfortable talking about the work and, um, you become more comfortable being honest about it, you know, where you don’t have to have anything high and mighty to say about the work, you know, it’s like, it’s okay to just acknowledge that, that you were curious what this was going to look like. You know, you were, you just wanted to do something. It is hard to doing those fairs because you do invest a certain amount of money for the fees. Maybe you got some cards printed and you know, you’ve got to get yourself there and maybe you got to get a hotel room if it’s far enough away.
Matt Suhre (37:24):
So, you know, there’s a economically, you hope that it makes sense. And you know, usually usually I’ll make a little bit more money than a break in the even. So it’s, it’s always worth the worth the time. And again, you bring a stack of cards and you always get a few calls afterwards and you always sell a few prints after the fact. And in a way, those are the best because people will call and say, gosh, I’ve been thinking about that one picture. Do you still have that print left? I wish I got it at the time. And connections lead to sales and it never hurts to go to those things and get your name out there,
Anne Kelly (38:00):
Going back to travel. Here’s a fun question. I think if you could time travel past or future,
Matt Suhre (38:09):
Oh gosh, I don’t know. This is a pretty good time to be alive right now. It’s a good time to be like a beer drinker. It’s a good time to be a skier. Although hopefully we still have snow, but my God, the technology and the equipment is so fun these days. There’s a lot of good things about right now, I think. And you know, another thing is, I always say I’ve been 40 years, my whole life, even when I was a kid, I was a 40 year old. And now that I am 40 it’s, I feel very things seem to make sense. Right, right now
Anne Kelly (38:44):
You’re finally the age you always work. So maybe your time traveling right now.
Matt Suhre (38:51):
And you know, I’m very comfortable in the pandemic. I’m like always socially isolated. I’m always a little bit underemployed. I feel very comfortable right now.
Anne Kelly (39:04):
It seems to be a good time for artists just working on what they want to work on. There’s gotta be somewhere. I mean, maybe, maybe you want to go to, I would go to Paris in the twenties and have a drink with Mann Ray.
Matt Suhre (39:25):
Yeah. That’d be cool. I’ll bet that guy’s a character.
Anne Kelly (39:30):
Matt Suhre (39:32):
You would probably get the real absence back then too. You know, I think New York in the seventies, if one didn’t get murdered could be sort of cool, uh, some great photography, some great art. And you know, at the time I think much like man Ray did showing up in Paris. I think you could just show up and say, I’m an, a famous photographer. And I think as long as you had something in your portfolio, they couldn’t really Wikipedia you or whatever, and be like, no, you’re not this Wikipedia. Doesn’t have your name on there are going to be famous. Like I think you could just show up say you are what you are and go down, you’d see the Ramones at CBGBs. I think that that could be a pretty interesting time, but you know, it’s funny, all that stuff gets compressed, you know, to where it’s sort of like you think of maybe a decade is just happening over a few weeks or something. I don’t know. But again, I do think this is a pretty interesting time. I think this is a, I think this is a good time to be alive.
Anne Kelly (40:34):
Oh, definitely. And, and it’s the only time, I mean, it’s, it’s now, so what’s, what’s better than the present
Matt Suhre (40:43):
We’re coping with, with the internet and what it means and sort of like the, um, abundance of information, I think is difficult for us to, to know exactly what to deal with, but I’m, I’m excited. Oh, how about this? How about time traveling to a time where we’re like, not freaked out by, um, you know, the constant bombardment of technology and uh, yeah, maybe some interstellar travel, interplanetary travel. I think that stuff is pretty interesting. I love science fiction. All right. Yeah. I’ll I’ll right. I’ve thought of the answer That I would try with time travel, I think to the future and see some space travel stuff. God, I love that stuff, you know, with NASA, all the footage, the new footage of Mars and stuff. It’s all very cool, I think.
Anne Kelly (41:39):
Oh yeah. Yeah. And, and, and they, um, released all that video footage recently with less sound and everything.
Matt Suhre (41:47):
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I, I thought maybe that sound was, um, added in there. I’m
Anne Kelly (41:54):
Not an expert.
Matt Suhre (41:57):
I’m not either, but how cool I gotta, I gotta, I gotta double check on that.
Anne Kelly (42:02):
If you could travel to any planet in the known universe, Elon Musk was just like, Hey, you want to do you want to go somewhere?
Matt Suhre (42:15):
There’s a lot of very interesting moons of gosh. Now I feel like I should check my facts, but moons of Saturn and moons of Jupiter, you’ve got your IO and your Europa, you know, one of them is made out of water. You’ve got liquid water there. I see crust liquid center, water core. I think they think that’s where the life might be. You know, the squid monsters or who knows the speculation. But yeah, I think, I think some of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter rings of Saturn, I think that would be quite a sight. And, but the amazing thing is it’s, you know, there is footage of that stuff like real footage is not generated by a computer that we can see that’s funded by the public and publicly available and fascinating stuff. But yeah,
Anne Kelly (43:11):
I mean, we’re, we’re in some very interesting times, but those types of things are being explored.
Matt Suhre (43:19):
Yeah. Well, you know, also speaking of living in great times, binge worthy TV, my goodness. There’s a lot of, a lot of pretty wonderful TV these days.
Anne Kelly (43:33):
That that is true. And the, and that’s one of my other favorite questions. Favorite movies or favorite shows that are on Netflix right now?
Matt Suhre (43:43):
Yes. Yeah. Well, I was going to say, remember when we were kids, there were three channels. And then if the president was on, forget about it, you weren’t watching anything. I just rewatched trading places, which is one of my all time favorites, uh, old John Landis movie, Eddie Murphy, Dan Akroyd. Oh, I remember they’ve just made the coming to America to
Anne Kelly (44:07):
Yes. Is that how I heard it was?
Matt Suhre (44:11):
I think it’s out. I think it’s, uh, it is, and I think prime produced it and made it so I’m excited to see that, but because coming to America, one of my favorites that whole era of Eddie Murphy, Dan Akroyd, John Belushi, I love all those movies, uh, blues brothers
Anne Kelly (44:32):
How can you go wrong with any of those actors
Matt Suhre (44:35):
Trading places, golden child. And this was, I mean, I was sort of growing up at the time and this was pretty, uh, formative stuff for my sense of humor and my, my ideas of what, what greatness is. So, but God, the blues, the blues brothers, what a soundtrack to,
Anne Kelly (44:54):
So how about music when you’re editing photos or making bird or all you’re houses, do you listen to music,
Matt Suhre (45:04):
You know, I listened to podcasts, mostly I do listen to music. And, um, again, this comes back to this whole question of identity. There was so some time where I thought was just like punk rock. I just wanted to listen to punk rock and like hip hop and just the harder, the better. But now I listen to everything and just say, say, if it’s good, I’ll listen to it. If it’s on. So like, um, you know, I love Patsy Cline, for example, just such a departure from all that stuff, but there’s some, there’s this, there’s this wonderful stuff. And if you don’t limit yourself to sort of a genre first attitude, you really can expose yourself to a lot better stuff. Or, I mean, just, I don’t know, there’s just such a world of great music.
Anne Kelly (45:51):
No, I hear you if you’re not like I only listened to blah-blah-blah.
Matt Suhre (45:56):
Yeah. Or, I mean, when we were kids, there was like, I would, I never listened to country, you know, it’s like, gosh, there’s, there’s great stuff, buck Owens and all that old stuff too. I love that. Um, he was an old, old country guy,
Anne Kelly (46:12):
So I, I must admit I am a huge fan of punk rock and hip hop. So I’m curious if you have a favorite punk rock and hip hop album.
Matt Suhre (46:24):
Well, the Ramones are gotta be my favorite band, you know, um, rocket to Russia is a pretty phenomenal album and then de LA soul three feet height and rising another like, I mean, just such a, such a classic or forced to pick would probably be those.
Anne Kelly (46:44):
I know it’s hard to pick, but those are great choices.
Matt Suhre (46:48):
What’s your favorite punk rock album.
Anne Kelly (46:52):
Um, yeah, so yeah, that’s bad. I asked you and then I’m like, oh, that’s so hard, but I guess just favorite punk rock bands ever are probably going to be like dead Kennedys, KRAS, misfits, so many good ones.
Matt Suhre (47:16):
I can appreciate like a lot of like minor threat, for example, so hard and just like so aggressive and really hardcore. But like there was still there’s there’s melody in there, which I can appreciate now. I think now a lot of that stuff, if I hadn’t, if I hadn’t already heard it, I probably wouldn’t go looking for some new hardcore, like thrash punk, because I’ve already had plenty of that in my life. But like having heard all that stuff before, I really like it’s, it’s great.
Anne Kelly (47:50):
It’s always kind of a question. Is, is it because you grew up with something that you love it as much as you did
Matt Suhre (47:56):
This case? Yes. With minor threat, for sure. Yeah.
Anne Kelly (47:59):
No. I had a minor threat poster in my bedroom when I was in high school, the guy with his head down and it was red and black.
Matt Suhre (48:07):
Anne Kelly (48:09):
Which out you, you know, the one, I forget which album that was, but it was, it was pretty iconic.
Matt Suhre (48:15):
I know the photo for sure. Well, that was the day two in those film days when, like there was iconic photos, you know, now there’s so many images of everybody, but like, like the cover of London calling with Paul smashing his base, you know, it’s just like such an iconic image. Now, if that happened, there’d be video of it. You’d see the same act from 20 different angles. And it wouldn’t like, it’s not as memorable, but like that still image, you know, I can call it up in my head. I can remember it.
Anne Kelly (48:50):
Right. We’re kind of bombarded in this age
Matt Suhre (48:54):
For like, uh, like the Hindenburg crashing. Everybody knows that one image, right. Because there weren’t a thousand images video and still have that event
Anne Kelly (49:07):
Right. On 19 different platforms.
Matt Suhre (49:11):
Yeah. Right, exactly. So, you know, when I was a kid, we by dad had records of Sherlock Holmes and the shadow and the Bickersons and all these sort of old timey radio programs. And I love listening to that stuff. So I really have always had a taste for audio, um, audio drama and, and audio performance. And again, when you get on road trips, this was also the time of books on like literal books on tape read, have to take out the tape, flip it over and you know, you’d have 20 tapes for a long book. I don’t know. I’ve just, I’ve always really loved having people tell me stories and, or tell me interesting facts. And, um, yeah, in this day and age, there’s so many choices. It’s really, it’s pretty great.
Anne Kelly (50:03):
I’m all about the stories. So, so before I let you go, um, you live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and we are the home of green and red chili, red or green, um, in terms of your favorite and, and where
Matt Suhre (50:21):
This is a very controversial question, but having been born here all my life, I feel that, um, mine is totally entrée based. For example, if I’m getting a cheeseburger it’s green chili, like I don’t do a red chili cheeseburger, but I like red on in enchiladas for example. So to sort of depends, LA chosa is great for both red and green. Yeah. Yeah. Well, and right here in the neighborhood is that Thomas Sidez is another one that’s been around forever. Great chili there as well. Except for that, uh, cheeseburger, I tend to go green with chicken red with beef. It’s kind of my standard, but again, it’s, it’s entrée based and it’s also placed, placed, driven.
Anne Kelly (51:19):
No, it definitely is. There’s some places are my green places and some of my
Matt Suhre (51:24):
Right. I’m not going to just say, I mean, I guess some people are hands down red or green, but that’s, you
Anne Kelly (51:32):
Know, for Christmas.
Matt Suhre (51:34):
Yeah. Well, that’s also, that’s in fact, a pretty good option. Almost always
Anne Kelly (51:39):
Best of both worlds and Christmas, uh, for anybody who’s watching, but, um, does not live here. That’s when you get half red, half green, best of both worlds,
Matt Suhre (51:49):
You can do it anytime of the year.
Anne Kelly (51:51):
Do you have any chilies going in your garden?
Matt Suhre (51:55):
No, you know, I doubt I don’t do the chilies. My, my garden is pretty shady and uh, I try to grow stuff that that is perennial and more productive. So I’ve got like a bunch of tails in there and I’ve got a bunch of charts growing and they’re just, just starting to come back. In fact for the year, like, I’ll do one tomato Bush, sometimes I’ll do peppers, but for the most part, it’s, it’s just leafy greens and strawberries, a ton of strawberries. They don’t seem to really produce any fruit, but they just spread like crazy. So we’ll
Anne Kelly (52:34):
See, oh, they look pretty.
Matt Suhre (52:36):
Yes. And grapes. I’ve got, I’ve been putting in grapevines and those are fun. I put them out on the sidewalk for the whole neighborhood. That’s a nice way to share the garden with everybody. And people love them and the birds love them. And the raccoons love them too. It does
Anne Kelly (52:53):
Maybe, maybe better sometimes than others.
Matt Suhre (52:56):
God, those guys don’t carry their, you go out there, you yell at them. They yell right back. The raccoons do not care at all.
Anne Kelly (53:05):
Well, great talking to you. Do you have any plugs, shout outs, anything like that?
Matt Suhre (53:12):
I would like to thank modern general at 6 3 7 serios road here in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They’ve been selling my bird houses for years, but you can also get my cyanotypes there. Um, the cyanotype tote bags that we were talking about, they also have greeting cards and mix garden materials in Healdsburg, California. That’s 1, 5, 3, 1 Healdsburg avenue. And they have been selling my bird houses too for a couple of months. And I’m really excited to be working with them. I would also like to plug my Instagram @ Matt Surrey, my, um, app for the birds and bees, Instagram, where you can see my bird houses and bee houses. And at the poodle, Charles
Anne Kelly (54:06):
Got, got to get Charles up there for sure. Well, it was great talking to you and I hope to see you on the ski.
Matt Suhre (54:15):
It was great talking to you too. Thanks so much.
Anne Kelly (54:18):
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for joining and have a great night. Thank you for watching Art in The Raw. If you enjoyed the conversation, which I hope you did, please like comment and subscribe. Keep the inspiration going. Have a good night.
Speaker 3 (54:47):
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