I Create Birmingham: Matthew Mayes

“The “Creative Class” is the soul of any thriving city. We provide ingenuity, comfort, forward movement, change, flavor, color, diversity, and most of all MAGIC!”

Name: Matthew Mayes
Occupation: Visual Artist
Creative Industry: Visual Arts & Crafts

1. What does “Creative Birmingham” mean to you?
The “Creative Class” is the soul of any thriving city. We provide ingenuity, comfort, forward movement, change, flavor, color, diversity, and most of all MAGIC!

2. What would like to see happen in Birmingham in the next 5 years?
I would like to Birmingham to put more emphasis on providing housing for the emerging, mid level and established artists in the downtown and metro areas. There should be more funds allotted for public works of art to include interior and exterior projects. More partnering with UAB, AL Power, Regions, and other major establishments to support funding, grants, shows, and other opportunities for the arts. A strong effort to relinquish the “SEGREGATION” that exists between Birmingham and the surrounding cities (Homewood, Mountain Brook, Vestavia, etc). It is an extreme covert issue no one is comfortable/willing to have a discussion about. I also feel that we need to promote the “skilled trades” (metal, stone, glass, brick, wood, etc). They are a necessary entity to keeping our city strong, current, interesting, and beautiful. Don’t be fooled, “Tradesman are artists too.” In addition, the utilization of abandoned, vacant, and dilapidated buildings in the Birmingham Metro areas. One day these spaces could be turned into artist housing, work space, and venues both temporarily and permanently. Finally, our city should not be charging exorbitant fees to event holders to conduct annual, semi-annual, or quarterly shows to use free public space for the benefit of the city, its participants, and patrons. These events provides huge revenue for the all entities of Metro Birmingham.

3. Your artwork has some pretty strong themes revolving around color, light, and movement; can you tell us what you are currently working on?
I am currently working on a 1 man show for the Downtown Public Libraries 4th Floor Gallery that will run from 7/9/15 thru 9/4/15. There will be an opening reception 7/10/15 from 5:00 – 7:30 pm and a closing reception on 9/1/15 from 5:00 – 7:30 pm. The public is invited and welcome to attend. I will be presenting over 30 works with subject matters reflecting, children, cancer, religion, spirituality, and color studies. The show is entitled “Layers Of Meaning”. In addition, I am working on a number of commissions with UAB to be installed in July/August of 2015.

4. How do events like ArtCrawl benefit you as an artist?
The Birmingham ArtCawl provides a monthly venue to showcase my works to a myriad of potential/current clients. It is a safe and positive environment that promotes the arts and makes patrons aware that art is vital and alive in downtown Birmingham. The Birmingham Artcrawl has been a huge platform for me to launch from. The founders, sponsors, and volunteers are huge supporters for the expansion and showcase of the Creative Class of Metro Birmingham.

5. What support do you think the visual arts community could use in Birmingham?
The visual arts community would benefit from grants, endowments, housing, venues, publications, and interviews. The community also needs assistance with sales, marketing, PR, and classes to help promote their products and development of the business.

6. Are there any other artists in Birmingham that inspire you?
I am generally not inspired by any ONE particular artist. However, what does inspire me is the collective mood, energy, and feeling that emits from shows, exhibitions, events, etc. Nature, life experiences, spirituality, children, people, and HUMANITY inspire me.