Artist & Creator
Born Matthew John Montero in Covington, Louisiana, on June 22, 1988, he was deeply immersed in art from an early age. His father Lloyd Anthony Montero Jr. was a self-made entrepreneur and lifelong passionate art collector and his mother Martha was naturally gifted in painting and drawing. Matthew did not formally take up painting until the winter of 2007, where the expression of the human condition played a major role. From the beginning, Montero's instinct for emotional depth, intensity, and strength of composition was clear.
Incredibly, he has always used his bare hands to create.
This unique mastery of using his fingers like brushes gives his paintings a compelling and original intensity, with no brush marks or trace elements. Montero explains:
"I try and capture many things in a picture. I might paint rough or tender depending on the subject. For me, painting has always been a confrontation. Using just my hands allows me to fight directly with my subject. It's an honest transfer with nothing in-between."
The ICON Process
The Human Condition:
Suffering, loneliness, indulgence, death, and a melting system
(A collection of documented paintings from 2007-2017)
Montero's portraits are done entirely freehanded; meaning there is no pasted or projected tracing of an image onto the canvas.
"I feel a painter has to earn his subject. There is no art in projecting or tracing an image onto the canvas. It's too easy and no value comes from something so easily had. A painter must go straight onto the canvas with the paint and let their unconscious take over."
It was during his freshman year of college that Montero developed the technique of using solely his bare-hands to create:
"I remember instinctively it just came more natural than a brush. I felt more directly connected to what I was painting. Many people have suggested I should use gloves because of the harsh chemicals in house paint, but I cannot. I have to feel the canvas, and feel the subject."
During college, he traveled to France, Spain, and Africa soaking in the history and artistic treasures. Upon graduating from Louisiana State University in 2011, he promptly moved to New York City to dedicate his life to art and painting. He took a position at Scully & Scully on Park Ave to afford rent and began painting out of a studio loft in the South Bronx. After an unexpected family tragedy, he moved back to Louisiana, and within a few years established ICONS as the world's only art museum dedicated to honoring the greatest modern cultural icons.