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Submitted by Laura McDermott '10 on February 12, 2010
John "Crash" Matos came to campus on Jan. 20-22 to work with Fairfield students on works of graffiti art.

John "Crash" Matos came to campus on Jan. 20-22 to work with Fairfield students on works of grafitti art.

Eccentric. Abstract. Rebellious. In your face. These are just some of the words that can describe Johnny “Crash” Matos’s artwork that is in the new art exhibit at Fairfield University’s Walsh Art Gallery from January 28-Februrary 28, 2010.

Crash got his start in the art world in a very unique and slightly illegal way. At the young age of 13, he spray-painted subway cars in New York. Now he carries an impressive “resume,” including painting guitars for rock legend Eric Clapman, and displaying works in museums all over the world, such as:

  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
  • Museum Boymans-van Beuninger, Rotterdam
  • Private galleries of Silvana and Enrico Coveri in Milan and Florence
  • Giovanni Agnelli, Milan
  • Dakis Jannous, Athens

The opening of the art exhibit on Tuesday, January 28th brought a crowd as unique as the artwork itself. Fairfield students mingled with onlookers of all ages for the event. When asked what he thought of Crash’s work, art appreciator Pete Baxter, said, “I had never heard of him before, but obviously he’s pretty world renown. His work is so original. He has a unique perspective on female faces, sometimes they’re even menacing. It makes me question what those females mean or represent?”

Geoff Staysniak ‘10 agrees with Mr. Baxter, and despite not knowing much about art, surprises himself with how much he has to say about Crash’s work. “When I see his artwork, the word vibrant comes to mind; you just don’t get bored looking at it. It grabs me from afar,” he said. “There’s also a lot going on in the paintings. It’s like organized chaos, but I don’t feel overwhelmed. Two thumbs up for this guy.”

spotlight_crash_studentsThe mere fact that Crash got started as a “criminal” seems to add to his charm and the rebelliousness evoked within each painting. Thomas Zingarelli, the Quick Center’s executive director, laughs good-naturedly at how Crash got started in the business. “It’s fabulous,” he said. “I remember being on the train as a kid, back in the 60’s in the Bronx, and I liked looking at the graffiti. I mean I guess it’s defacement, but when you’re young, you love how artists can get away with it.”

It seems that Crash’s work struck a chord with the Fairfield community – accentuating a youthful outlook and an unabashed creativity that dares you to step outside of the box.

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