If you follow live music in Sydney, chances are you’ve been to The legendary Annandale Hotel. On top of that you’ve probably been served a beer or three by Matthew Gillett  (that’s Matty G to his close circle). We were surprised to learn that apart from managing The Annandale, Matty has been painting canvasses in his spare time. And on top of that, he is having his debut solo art exhibition at Mart Gallery in Surry Hills from next Thursday 30th October.

Things have been moving forward quickly for Matty, who was featured in a 3 page article in the Sun Herald last Sunday. So we were stoked that he was keen to do a quick interview for MY SYDNEY RIOT, after all we’re up there with The Herald. ha ha! Matt took some time out while preparing for his art show to give us the low down on his art show PEACE INSIDE ANXIETY. Here’s what he had to say.

Where did you grow up?

South Coast of Sydney.

Did you come from an artist family or did you pick it up somewhere?

Just always had it from drawing on the school desks and attempting to answer math’s questions with a sketch LOL

Can you recall one of your favourite early childhood memories?

The smell of surfing… wet wetsuits, wax and rubber.

Did your childhood had alot to do with how you turned out artistically as an adult? why?

Yeah for sure , I think life with its ups and downs is a direct vein to my Art.

You spend time between Sydney and the South Coast, do you find a balance in that? or do you feel torn between the two?

I have just been working this out, funny you should ask , I’m at the moment TORN, I love the accessibility of Sydney but miss home, family better waves magic scenery, less crew.

You aren’t from an ‘art scene’, you are the lone artist primarily doing your own thing. What does art within this city feel like from your perspective?

For me it’s refreshing and nice to just be able to produce what feels good and natural and so far its been well received. Most of the people are pleasantly surprised to see another side of me. It also makes me push hard to succeed. I think at the moment Sydney is just loving Art.

Tell us a few things you like to do in your spare time.

Surf, moto x, red wine and good food shared with friends.

What inspires you to remain creative?

To see an idea / image or feeling produced onto canvas.

You manage the infamous live music institute The Annandale Hotel. Do you have a memory that sticks in your mind that you’d like to share?

It’s hard, there are so many memories. At the moment Jimmy Barnes for The Annandale Hotel’s Tenth Birthday Week. It was an unforgettably emotional show. He’s a legend and a wonderful human being.

You’ve built up strong friendships with an enviable list of Australian band folk. What characteristics separates the try hards / wankers and the guys that become your close friends?

One word; Humble. The ones that are humble are the ones who become friends.

What kind of bands do you listen to in your spare time?

The Drones, The Beautiful Girls, Sticky Fingers, Fait Accompli, shit heaps… I listen to everything from rock to reggae to Justin Towns Earl.

Describe your art style.

I steer clear of this one, I like to think people can give it their own style without being boxed into what I think.

What’s your favourite medium?

Oil on Canvas.

Who are your favourite artists?

Salvador Dali, Trent Whitehead and Ozzie Wright.

Do you have any advice to give to anyone out there starting out as an artist?

Just Pick up your brush, pencil, chisel, whatever and just strike that first blow.

There are some dark images within your work, alongside some bright colours. Can you explain what message you are trying to convey within your work?

Everyday life dishes up all sorts, for me painting helps balance those up and downs. What comes out on canvas is what’s unbalanced inside, the result is my art.

You are exhibiting at Sydney’s Mart Gallery in Surry Hills, how did this come about?

Like most things in my industry, word of mouth.

You were involved in a violent incident which took place at the pub. A head injury left you hospitalised for some time. In your recovery you turned to painting, can you explain that exact moment when you felt a change happening within of you?

I was painting before the accident, but after the accident I had no patience for much else, I wasn’t able to surf, drive or ride moto x, so it became a place to vent .

Your art exhibition is called PEACE INSIDE ANXIETY. It’s a deep title. What does this title mean to you?

The title is what painting has been to me in this tuff time and the sanctuary during this rehabilitation.

So has painting brought you true inner peace? or is it still part of a bigger healing process?

It’s a major player, but getting back in the water, getting on the bikes and my relationship with my girlfriend Amy complete the pieces of the Puzzle for me.

Sometimes you must feel pretty lucky to be alive, let alone have an exhibition?

It’s taken me 18 months to think like that, but in feeling better I’m realizing losses can come disguised as opportunities and now I’m feeling pretty damn lucky.

Are you a movie buff or a book head?

I would say movie buff, unless I’m on a surfing holiday in Indo, then I transform to book-worm.

So where to from here?

Push it, see how far it goes…

Cremation or Burial?


Any last words of wisdom?

Life is too short for carrying on,
so get barreled , laugh till your gut hurts ,
Love truly and forgive quickly, yeeeew.

Opening drinks for the Matthew Gillett exhibition take place on Thursday 30th September from 5.30pm. The show stays up till Saturday 16th October. Mart Gallery, 156 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills. Limited edition prints of all the paintings available from Mart Gallery.



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