, College Place
Matthew Pierce, MFA
Matthew Pierce is a multi-disciplinary artist and professor at Walla Walla University who not only teaches, but is actively involved in his own art career. As a working artist he is able to bring fresh ideas and real-world content to his art classes. His current interest is the exploration of painting objects and people.
Through his art, Pierce explores the ideas and assumptions we attach to the commonplace or nostalgic and how our perceptions are altered by time and changing perspectives. His contemporary approach to painting shows an exuberance in application of paint and color, with a witty and wry playfulness.
As with many artists, Pierce's interest in creativity was apparent from a young age. His active creativity would manifest itself in not only drawing but in the creation, and sometimes modification, of his own toys. By the age of 10, financial resources were slim with a single working mother, so Pierce spent much of his free time exercising his imagination through drawing, designing, and even filming stop motion shorts. By the time Pierce completed highschool he was an accomplished drawer with a strong understanding of form and composition.
After attending Walla Walla College and earning a degree in Commercial Art, Pierce went on to build a career as a graphic designer and art director specializing in periodical design. “Many of my clients had little to no art budget and very little understanding of the value of art and composition in design so I began to supplement their projects with my own photography and illustrations.”
The years sitting at a computer were taking its toll and after 23 years in the commercial design field Pierce decided it was time for a change so he set out to earn his MFA in Drawing and Painting from The Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Almost immediately, upon completion of his degree, Pierce was offered an associate professor of art position at his alma mater and filled the vacancy of his recently retired art professor and mentor. “After living on the east coast and various places in the west, it was nice to return to Walla Walla. Nearly all of the best things in my life happened in Walla Walla.”
Currently, Matthew Pierce splits his professional time between teaching and making art.