Matt Cauley Artist - photo credit Justyna Fijalska Photography

Matt Cauley Artist – photo credit Justyna Fijalska Photography

Matt Cauley has an extensive background in the visual arts. Born in Dallas, Matt moved to New York in 1992 to attend Parsons School of Design, obtaining his BFA in Illustration. While there, he discovered a love for portrait painting, and he has continued his painting studies at the School of Visual Arts under the guidance of renowned artist John A. Parks. Matt’s art has been published worldwide and he has contributed to both group and solo art exhibitions.

In addition to painting, Matt is also an accomplished illustrator and toy designer.

Matt’s additional work (illustration, painting, and toy design portfolios) can be seen at the official Iron-Cow Prod. website at http://www.ironcowprod.com.

Artist Statement

Matt Cauley (Dallas, United States) is a visual artist focusing on portrait and figurative painting.

My paintings are characterized by the use of everyday people in everyday settings. The subjects have usually never sat for a painting before, so this is a new experience for them. I ask them to tell me a story of their youth, of nostalgia or some distant memory. The subject relaxes as their attention shifts. Their eyes focus no longer on the room, but on that diversion of memory. Daydream fascination takes over their gaze. What is conveyed becomes deeply personal. Regardless of where they may be sitting in the real world, their mind is on a journey elsewhere. This is the moment that is portrayed on the canvas, creating a sense of separation between the subject and their environment, as well as between the viewer and the painting.

The story occurring outside the canvas is equally as important as what is depicted within. As each new showcase of work can vary in layout and orientation, every new configuration will yield a fresh and unexpected narrative. Although daily life is the subject matter, each painting is a celebration of the individual and the inner-wonder even they themselves might not see. Every story is beautiful. Each person is beautiful.

The viewer will bring their own experience to the paintings, projecting their own thoughts on the people and events depicted. The viewer’s story joins with their interpretation of what the subject may have experienced, creating a truly unique and personal narrative between the painting and the viewer.


Ideally, I prefer to work from a mixture of live model and reference photography. Since I often work with friends and family as subjects, I try to avoid having them sit for an extended period of time. I carefully light the subject and engage them in conversation while snapping off a series of reference photographs.

The paintings are created almost exclusively with Winsor & Newton Acrylics on 20” x 30” Fredrix Red Label Canvas.
The canvas is prepared with a pale green or otherwise neutral ground. I begin the underpainting using a Burnt Umber, quickly blocking out the form. Broad patches of saturated color are applied in a quilt-like fashion. These color patches get refined as carefully-mixed glazes as the painting develops. I will refer to the photography when the subject is on break or otherwise unavailable.

Each painting within a series is uniform in size. This creates a rhythm around an exhibit space, a tempo that guides the viewer from one work to the next and then back to the beginning. The paintings are designed to create an interlocking interpretive narrative regardless of the size of the display space.