Self-Taught Artist Matt Trammel of Rocklin
● Published by Style
Rocklin resident Matt Trammel, a self-taught artist who creates large murals and canvases commercially, residentially and for charities, loves producing bright, vibrant art that makes people feel happy and inspired. Along with his encouraging family, a major influence for Trammel—both while growing up and today—is Walt Disney. “I’ve always loved his art and his unique story,” Trammel shares. “I’m currently creating pieces to send to become a fine artist for Disney—a personal dream of mine!” In the meantime, the artist doesn’t put a cap on the mediums he’s willing to explore and is busy working on 14 murals for a new winery in Elk Grove.
HLB: What makes a project unique and exciting for you?
MT: I enjoy every project, because it’s another chance for me to put my name on a piece of artwork for people to enjoy. I love creating 30-foot murals as much as [I love] small canvas pieces. Some [of my] highlights include painting for celebrities such as Sheryl Crow, creating art for charity events like Let Them Eat Cake (raises money for Sacramento’s self-help housing projects) or A Night Under the Stars (benefits school arts programs), and producing art live at CBS Radio events.
HLB: Were there any challenges as you transitioned from pen and ink to large-scale painting?
MT: Having no professional training and never really working with a paintbrush until about five years ago, it took a while to master. My first large-scale painting was also my first commercial mural. I painted it like I’d painted or drawn anything else—completely free hand, and I’ve done it that way ever since. I had to develop techniques to paint faster so I could meet deadlines, including learning how to paint with both hands; I [realized] if I could use both hands, I could hold two brushes at the same time and get more work done! This transitioned into my “speed painting” or “performance painting,” which I do when creating art live at events.
HLB: What exactly is speed or performance painting?
MT: Creating large canvas pieces in front of an audience. I create these pieces in minutes, using both hands to paint. It’s a form of pop art and is very splashy, vibrant and exciting. I enjoy people’s reactions to a completed piece of live art and believe creating in front of people adds value to those involved in the experience.
HLB: What inspires you?
MT: When being commissioned for a piece, my inspiration is simply drawn from the client’s ideas. I love drawing off a person’s excitement for a vision they want brought to life. When creating pieces from my own ideas, my inspiration changes from piece to piece, but always focuses on color and light and how the warmth and brightness will make people feel.
HLB: Do you have any advice for those seeking to make a living as an artist?
MT: Keep putting yourself out there—do not shy away from making yourself known. Your success depends on not only your talent, but also putting in the effort to be seen and heard. Never give up, always look for new opportunities that relate to your unique ability, and get involved!