The Story Behind the Painting

Busting the myth that watercolor is not a medium for serious artists or serious artwork, Matthew Bird's prizewinning painting provides thoughtful social commentary.

“Not Interested” (transparent watercolor on paper, 30 x 22 in.) by Matthew Bird

“Having worked in marketing for 15 years, I’ve always been interested in the drivers that motivate people, many of which are dishonest at worst, or manipulative at best,” says Matthew Bird. “I saw this advertising campaign for women’s jeans on benches around Los Angeles. The image had been Photoshopped to a ridiculous degree — beyond the basic touch-ups that have become the norm. The model’s body was curved to an impossible angle. It’s an overly sexualized image, which would largely appeal to men, but is being used to sell a product to women, which will seemingly make them appealing to men.

“Too often, advertising uses the low hanging fruit of insecurities in an attempt to make women feel inadequate while at the same time distorting how men understand beauty. Without getting too philosophical, I was fascinated by the idea of this guy sitting there, completely uninterested in the marketing ploy, and thought it perfect for satirical commentary.”

“Not Interested” by Matthew Bird took First Place in this year’s Northwest Watercolor Society’s Annual International Open Exhibition. Juried by Mark Mehaffey, the show runs through June 1, 2018, at the Mercer Island Community Center in Mercer Island, Washington.


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Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.



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