Matt Duquette

July – September 2017
Exhibit Opening Celebration: Saturday July 29th

Over five years ago I moved my family from the city, across county lines, to a 150 year old farmhouse in Pendleton, NY. One of our first purchases as homesteaders was a small group of Plymouth Barred Rock chicks. I had never met a real chicken before, maybe only from a distance, so all of this was new. I spent that Spring building a coop while the chicks grew up inside our home, becoming as much a part of the family as the dog or cats. Two coop additions later, we now have fifteen heritage breed hens that are used for egg production, pest control and conversation starters.

The hen’s varying body types, personalities and quirky movements have allowed me to illustrate a subject very different than the rest of my body of work. Typically my work involves figures and metaphors; surreal images that capture a moment from a dream. This series is the second exploration of the vignettes I witness each day. My intent becomes focused on the craft and execution of creating an image that reflects nature as it is.

Most people are unfamiliar with chickens, and farm animals in general. These creatures are considered livestock, which in some way devalues their importance, but never-the-less, they are unique creatures in this world much like cats, dogs or even elephants. It’s been quite interesting to observe and record their habits. It’s given me a different perspective on who they are, and how to portray them artistically. It’s also quite disturbing to know that chickens are one of the most inhumanely treated animals in the world. In the United States, approximately 9 billion chickens are killed for their flesh each year, and 305 million hens are used for their eggs. The vast majority of these animals spend their lives in total confinement—from the moment they hatch until the day they are killed. I am neither an activist nor agitator, but wish to make more humans aware of their plight.

Matt Duquette was born and raised in the historic City of Tonawanda NY. Here, he was wildly excited by cartoons and comic books at an early age. His imagination, sense of humor and introversion kept him busy doodling and enamored with the thoughts of being a professional artist. It wasn’t until the first years of college which he was exposed many great works that he truly became passionate about his craft.

Duquette draws much inspiration from the American Realism and Ashcan School artists of the early 20th Century. Artists such as NC Wyeth and George Bellows who incite motion and drama, but also the subtlety of Andrew Wyeth’s landscapes along with Whistler’s textures. More recently, the art of Rien Poortvliet has been persuasive in how he describes animals and farm life with the most intimate of drawings and quick paintings.

Matt is currently the owner of 12 Grain, a design and illustration studio in Lockport, NY. His portfolio includes a diverse array of work including murals, furniture and animation along with plenty of commissioned work for commercial clients. Matt has also shown in galleries across Western New York, New York City, and North Carolina. Aside from art, a typical day may include: chopping firewood, picking apples, eating eggs, and playing freeze tag.