Matthew Coté

Artist Statement

My work focuses on the politics of choice and finding balance between the polarities. If there is something to be learned from engaging in and creating politically charged work, it is that EVERYTHING is political. Politics can be seen simply as interaction. We make choices based on our stature, how others perceive our choices, and the consequences of those choices. Our ability to discern affects is political. Dealing with consequences is political. Understanding our role and contribution to society is political.

I use the medium of jewelry/metalsmithing to convey artistic activism. As a worn object jewelry can reach outside the gallery, or the typical viewing space. The wearer becomes a participant in the concept of the piece. I seek to confront the viewer. I provoke attention by using bright and vibrant colored enamels on metal, as well as three-dimensional cast objects to play with visual space.

My designs vary based on the concept from simple and direct to complex and contemplative. I draw inspiration from political campaign slogans, flags, and propaganda; all of which have simple designs that grab attention. My inspiration also pulls from topography and, to an extent, gematria (the changing of words into numbers to place within a design). Ultimately, these inspirations are a visual path, an ideogram, for the eye and the mind to discover the ideas within the piece. What you learn along the way may, or may not, take you to the inevitable conclusion, but what’s ultimately important is the journey.


Bio

I was born and raised in Tacoma, WA, and I first became interested in working with metal while attending Tacoma Community College’s art program. My initial focus was in producing large-scale sculptural installation work using steel. Eventually, my interests changed to metalsmithing after taking an undergraduate metals class at Central Washington University. Now, I create work that focuses on my interests in politics and the power of choice. I explore politics with a degree of humor, but I’ll shift into a serious tone depending on the concept. Jewelry and metalsmithing are my tools for political activism, as well as to broaden art outreach within a community. Predominately using enamels or cast objects, the goal of my work is to breach hubris and spark conversation. Currently, I am residing in Erie, PA.

Expertise

Centrifugal Casting
Enameling
Soldering
Fabrication
Welding

Using Format