When his dog suddenly passed away over ten years ago, Matt Moffett became inspired to preserve the memory of his beloved pet through painting. This experiment in art has earned him the nickname of "the dog painter" and has evolved for him into a successful vocation of painting dogs and cats around the United States as well as five countries in Europe. In a body of work called My Favorite Things currently on display at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Gallery through December 30th, Moffett has created a whimsical world in which animals rule as allegorical figures from history, or become master of the house when their owners are not looking. The opening for My Favorite Things will take place on Thursday, December 16th from 6-8:30pm.
Complementing the animal paintings are a series of cityscape paintings inspired by the art deco architecture of Tulsa's downtown. Moffett enjoys breathing life in conventional portrayals of city scenes by incorporating his signature loose and effortless brushstrokes as well as his vibrant color palette. Another series of these downtown paintings are also on display at the Wild Fork restaurant in Utica Square.
My Favorite Things is comprised of 25 oil and acrylic paintings. In addition to appeasing his own interests and sense of humor through his quirky yet charming portrayals of animals, Moffett has successfully tapped into the market of commissioned animal portraiture and is constantly working on painting requests from animal lovers around Tulsa and as far away as New York. The holidays are his busiest time of year with commissions as he averages around 12 paintings during the holiday season.
Before beginning work on a commission, Moffett has made a habit of visiting the client's home as well as their pet and asking them endless questions about their animal. This experience helps him better understand exactly what the client is envisioning for their artwork and leads to more successful results throughout the painting process.
Arguably more notable than his career as "the dog painter" Moffett is the co-founder of the Tulsa Girls Art School (TGAS). Founded in 2007, this admirable school provides after-school art classes to talented young girls around Tulsa. Regarding the challenges of balancing time for his own work as well as running an up and coming non-profit organization Moffett said, "I bring my work for my students to see. They all know what I am working on. It's not difficult because it's a labor of love."
The PAC Gallery opened along with the Tulsa Performing Arts Center in 1977. Artwork was shown on an infrequent basis until 2005 when the PAC began striving to fill the gallery space year round. "We have an open invitation to citizens to 'Come Home to the Arts,' whether that be on our stages or our walls," said Tulsa PAC Marketing Director, Nancy Hermann. "Our Gallery gives both established and beginning artists and photographers a place to display their work."
The PAC Gallery is diverse with regard to the kind of artists and groups it showcases on its walls. Its chosen exhibitions often revolve around work that correlates directly to the PAC's current performances. For example, when the Tulsa Global Alliance brought Shostakovich's Symphony No. 13 to the PAC, renown Russian poet and University of Tulsa Professor, Yevgeny Yevtushenko read his poem Babi Yar, which had inspired Shostakovich's symphony. Alongside the reading of the poem hung paintings by Russian artists and major Russian painter, Mikhail Chemiakin.
Exposure of local organizations is a constant ambition of the gallery as well. Recently, in conjunction with the Broadway Hit Wicked, the Tulsa Glassblowing School created work inspired by the Wizard of Oz resulting in tornadoes, yellow brick roads, ruby slippers and witch hats made completely of glass. "People loved it," said Hermann. "We're going to have Tulsa Glassblowing back." The PAC Gallery also supports local organizations and agencies working to providing healing through the arts such as the Alzheimer's Association. For this inspiring show, artists attached a narrative description alongside their artwork.
The Gallery offers 150 linear feet of space that typically accommodates between 15 and 20 works of art depending on the size. The Gallery rotates artwork on a monthly basis and artists interested in exhibiting their work should contact Nancy Hermann or Nancy Bizjack at the PAC.
As the Gallery's December artist, Moffett's work will also be featured as the cover art for the PAC's December INTERMISSION magazine as well as the PAC's holiday card. Moffett was selected for his whimsical painting and vibrant color palette in addition to the substantial impact he has made on Tulsa's local arts community. "We have immense respect for what Matt does for the Tulsa Girls Art School project," said Hermann.
More information about Matt Moffett and the PAC Gallery is available at m2studioportraits.com and tulsapac.com.
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