Band-Aid: Instructional and Flood Resistant Work

April 4th, 2014

I have an exhibition of flood resistant luxury objects and instructional drawings opening in Chicago on Friday April 11th. For more information check out the press release below.

BAND-AID: Instructional and Flood Resistant Work
by Colin Matthes
April 11-May 4th
Opening Reception April 11, 6-9pm
LivingRoom is proud to present our first show in collaboration with ACRE’s year-long series of exhibitions by 2013 summer residents. We hope you can join us next Friday April 11, from 6-9pm, for the opening reception.

Colin Matthes’ recent work addresses economic and environmental crisis from a funny, critical, and perversely industrious point of view. For his first Chicago solo exhibition, BAND-AID: Instructional and Flood Resistant Work, he will show flood resistant luxury objects and a series of instructional drawings. More information on the show can be found at

COLIN MATTHES’ practice includes painting, drawing, installation, zine and graphic production, and public art projects. Matthes works collectively with Justseeds, a network of twenty-six artists living in the United States, Canada, and Mexico that runs a print collective, contributes graphics to social movements, and co-publishes books. As an individual artist, Matthes has exhibited across Europe and the United States. Solo exhibitions include Artspace Leguit, Antwerp, Belgium and Igloo Gallery, Portland, Oregon; group exhibitions include Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, Munch Gallery, New York, and the Haggerty Museum, Milwaukee. He has participated in many residencies including Hotel Pupik (Austria), Werkkamp (Belgium), and Cow House Studios (Ireland). Matthes won the Marl L Nohl Fellowship for Individual Artists in 2012 (Established) and 2007 (Emerging).

More information about Colin Matthes can be found at

ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibition) was founded in 2010 with the ambition to provide the arts community with an affordable, cooperative, and dialogue-oriented residency program. The residency itself takes place each summer in rural southwest Wisconsin and brings together artists from across disciplines and levels of experience to create a regenerative community of cultural producers. Over the course of the following year ACRE endeavors to further support its residents by providing venues for exhibitions, idea exchange, interdisciplinary collaboration, and experimental projects.

More information about ACRE can be found at

Green Mini Demo Derby, new photos

March 31st, 2014

Green Mini Demo Derby

October 29th, 2013

This year I put a ridiculous amount of time and energy into making a solar powered remote control car demolition derby (Green Mini Demo Derby). From asking numerous businesses to consider sponsoring a solar powered remote control car demolition derby, to building a mobile solar power station, to learning about remote control cars, retrofitting them so they are able to efficiently destroy each other, and spending countless hours painting corporate logos on cars and uniforms, it was a long, often confusing, process. I was nervous and excited (mainly terrified) for the first event, hoping the cars got charged efficiently, ran well, broke well, and that the event would be exciting.

Installation with Mobile Solar Power Station

The first round is now over and I’m preparing for the Championship on November 14th, 6pm at Inova, Milwaukee, WI. The Riverwest Public House, Brenner Brewing Co, Sky High Skateshop, and Midwest Photovoltaics will be competing for the Championship and there will be a large grudge match of the nine remaining racers!

Heat 2 action

What it is:
The Green Mini Demo Derby includes a mobile solar electric power generator that fuels a demolition derby made up of remote control cars. Businesses have sponsored race teams, with each team having their own driver, car, and uniform. The cars have customized wood bodies and compete on a plywood course. There will be multiple heats of between 6 and 8 cars, with the winners of each heat competing in a final race for the trophy. These competitions will occur over the course of the Mary L Nohl exhibition at INOVA, Milwaukee, WI, USA with the cars being displayed as they transform.

About the project:
Green Mini Demo Derby brings the worlds of county fairs and alternative energy into collision. Businesses were invited to sponsor a car and share in this absurd, urgent experiment in sustainable destruction. The sponsors, largely companies looking to create ethical business models, can make a game of (and possibly comply with) the capitalist tenets of self-interest and survival of the fittest. The pleasure and pathos of this project is amplified as the viewer watches a local corporate death match wrapped in a cloak of environmental sustainability.

Cars charging at the solar power station before the first heat of the first round

Milwaukee Shines, my track sponsor

You can see more at:

Green Mini Demo Derby Exhibition Poster

September 10th, 2013

Green Mini Demo Derby Sponsors Announced!

September 10th, 2013

This is the first project I have ever worked on with sponsors. Although the vast majority of businesses I spoke to thought I was nuts or just were not interested, I am thrilled to have this great lineup of supportive businesses and organizations.

Solar Sponsor: Midwest Photovoltaics
Event Sponsor: Milwaukee Shines
Solar Panel Sponsor: Helios Solar Works

Exclusive Car Sponsors:
Ace Hardware
Ape Girl / Monga (the movie)
Brenner Brewing
Classic Slice Pizza
Colectivo Coffee
Long Arm Farm
Midwest Renewable Energy Association
Sky High Skateshop and Gallery
Car Sponsor: Beans and Barley

Wexford Art Center (Ireland) Exhibition Opens.

September 10th, 2013

Excited to have work from my Getting By in the Foreverscape series in a group expo with Marc Horowitz, Lois Patiño, and Susie Tarnowicz at the Wexford Art Center, Wexford, Ireland. It just opened yesterday.

Wexford Art Center link

Little Brown Mushroom Camp for Socially Awkward Storytellers

August 10th, 2013

I recently spent a week at the Little Brown Mushroom Camp for socially awkward storytellers. It was put on by Little Brown Mushroom and Alec Soth. More a workshop than a residency we met each day and did projects, shared these projects, heard from visiting artists, and had great lunches and dinners together. It was difficult at times for me, I was working much faster than I am used to, the only one making drawings and surrounded by accomplished photographers. It was intimidating, but fantastic, I learned so much, got a few good stories out of it, and made some new friends. I did manage to take some photos, which were embarrassing to show and made some drawings. Excited that one of the photos I made is going to be in the British Journal of Photography.

And here are press links about the project :


Walker Art Center

Star Tribune

Minnesota Public Radio

Green Mini Demo Derby – in progress

August 8th, 2013

I’m excited to finally have completed the first car for my upcoming Green Mini Demo Derby. Thanks to my sponsor Midwest Photovoltaics, this is your car for the Demo Derby. I have many other sponsors that will have their own cars, and will be posting their photos shortly. After many tests, I have been building all the bodies out of wood and aluminum flashing, and on inspection you can see this one has already had a few repairs after testing.

You can follow the project progress here

A short description of the project:
The Green Mini Demo Derby includes a mobile solar electric power generator that fuels a demolition derby made up of remote control cars. Businesses have sponsored race teams, with each team having their own driver, car, and uniform. The cars have customized wood bodies, and will compete on a plywood course. There will be multiple heats of between 4 and 6 cars, with the winners of each heat competing in a final race for the trophy. These competitions will occur over the course of the Mary Nohl exhibition at Inova, Milwaukee, with the cars being displayed on pedestals as they transform.

60 WRD/MIN ART CRITIC: Lori Waxman reviews Essential Knowledge drawings.

June 10th, 2013

What kind of knowledge does a person need to know in order to survive the threats of our terror-stricken, post-9/11, environmentally fraught, natural-disaster-prone day and age? With tongue firmly in cheek, Colin Matthes has created a series of posters illustrating in great detail what he takes to be the “Essential Knowledge” of today. This includes how to prepare small game, make weapons in a pinch, throw a knife, start a fire without matches, encode messages, shoot a semi-automatic pistol, make a boat from the ruins of a gas station, purify water, and break down a door. The resulting series registers as part Boy Scout manual, part outdoorsman guidebook, part Army/Navy training notes, and part, um, paranoid conspiracy theorist Internet search results. What could be more apt reading for the average American? With the right packaging—certainly not the scrawled, lone man in the woods drawing style that the artist has perfected—Matthes could have a best-seller on his hands. And a whole lot of blood.

—Lori Waxman 5/31/13 4:09 PM

To view the original document click here.

Release of Essential Knowledge: Volume 1 and Essential Knowledge: Volume 2

January 24th, 2013

Check out coverage of the new print sets on Printeresting

Each print set is a series of instructional posters teaching basic skills for success in challenging situations. Each print is 15.5x11in, photocopy printed in a edition of 50 on thick paper. The sets are eight prints each, signed, and packaged in plastic sleeves.

For more information or to purchase the print sets ($18 each) stop by Sky High Gallery in Milwaukee or contact Colin Matthes at