My pictures come out of my life experiences.... I don't feel like some specially gifted person inspired by the art gods...I'm just a guy who sees things...what I see and experience everyday is eventually shaped into what some people call "ART".
A curiosity with the "streets" probably goes back further than I can recall. My clearest recollection goes back to the late fifties when I was in Mt. Hebron Junior Highschool...Looking underneath the fashionable, persistent goodness" of the American way of life. I've always been curious about that place. The barren, desolate tendencies of the American landscape have always held my attention more assuredly than the upper middle class neighborhood I grew up in. Upper Montclair, New Jersey was a classy place. Big stone houses with broad, green lawn. Streets lined with huge, healthy maple trees plenty of budding ivy leaguers bound for glory healthy, supple cheerleader like girls fooled by flat-topped, butch waxed stares sweaty nights at the drive-ins and the curious queerness of 42nd Street just an hour away.
I remember trips to time square.... we'd hop the 66 bus to Port Authority Building in Manhatten.....out of Upper Montclair to Rt. 3, past the drive-ins, cheap motels, debris littered highway finally, down through the stench of the Secaucus Meadows, a brief look at the "Apple" across the Hudson and down through the Lincoln Tunnel to the bus terminal and we were delivered right into the westside, midtown hussle it was the start of a brutal, grisly sideshow....smack sellin', wantin' junkies lined up on eighth avenue..there was a smell on the streets that couldn't really be defined but it was distinct and always the same. Some of the other boys went to get material for school yard bragging I went because I hooked up with the kind of distorted, twisted reality there. A disturbing, vital humanity that wasn't a part of day to day life in Upper Montclair....l was curious as hell.
It wasn't until about 1965 when a film maker friend showed me Robert Frank's haunting, epic pictures that I began to understand the implications of my curiosity. It was then that I considered for the first time the possibility of giving it some form. I've been at it ever since.
ALL THE BEST ---BILL MATTICK
And a more formal addendum:
The purpose of this project is to describe from a photographer's intellect and intuition a recognition of the american culture's visual vernacular. I photograph parades, carnivals, car shows, on the streets, at the beach, at work; the public at large. I am interested in the mundane common events of our times; the things we see all the time but ignore; the invisible aspects of a society that lives in the public eye but shuns public attention; the anonymous eccentricities of a troubled, complex, frenzied culture at the turn of the millennium.
In 1994 in preparation for an exhibition of my pictures I said...."what it is about the american cultural queerness that is so insistent to me...sometimes I think I am committed to an ideal that I'll never work out....that is to perfectly describe in a picture what it is about the american experience that is so dangerous, so preposterous, so alluring....." The same problem occurs to me every time I go into the public to make photographs. Americans have historically been a kind of rough and ready, unsophisticated people committed to work and play but not ideas. It is the visceral, organic, robust, naive nature of the cultural that fascinates me. But how to frame this notion in a picture? As I constantly struggle with a medium whose form is synonymous with it's subject, it is the challenge of describing the illusive face of our culture that defines my work.
.... and some kind words for Fixing Shadows:
to tell you after years of looking at the pictures in various form....negative, contact sheets, raw work prints, 20x24 exhibition prints behind glass, offset litho reproductions, I got quite a jolt seeing those images draw across the little screen of my laptop. The internet is a much more democratic forum than the "art world", no artificial hoops to jump through, no filter of curators,art jurors, critics...just a guy like yourself interested in the ramifications of the real world and willing to show others views....Thanks
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