Visiting artist offers inspiration, advice


By CARLY STEWART, Staff Reporter ¦

From Sept. 24 through 26, Michael Mattesi, a figure drawing artist and author, visited Amarillo College. Mattesi is responsible for a nationally published series of figure drawing books on his FORCE drawing approach. Mattesi led several drawing workshops on his drawing method. His visit culminated with a public talk Sept. 26 in Russell Hall.

“The foundation of what I’m sharing with you today has come from years of teaching this theory,” Mattesi said. “This drawing approach, it’s about seeing this energy – this vitality in the body and how it relates to gravity.”

Mattesi is well versed in the entertainment arts industry, having worked with companies such as Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks studios. Born in 1970 in Brooklyn, New York, Mattesi said he was inspired as a child by various television series. He began drawing his own superheroes at the age of eight. His mother never accepted the word ‘can’t’ as an excuse for anything, which had a powerful influence on him as a child.

“So there’s no such thing as can’t,” he said. “I love these two quotes, I use frequently in my books, ‘If you imagine it then you can achieve it. If you can dream it you can become it,’” Mattesi, said.

Although Mattesi admitted that pursuing a career in the entertainment arts industry is challenging, he noted that people have a choice about how they let things affect them.

“The ultimate thing that is going to stop you from moving forward is fear. The fear of losing money, the fear of losing relationships, the fear of not being good enough. If you can understand that, recognize it and confront it, then there is so much more that you can be capable of,” he said.

Mattesi concluded by reminding students that anyone is capable of achieving important goals when dreams are kept alive. When his speech came to a close and the lights come back on, a wave of applause filled the room.

Students described the speech as heartfelt and authentic. “It made me tear up a couple of times,” Salvador Casanova, a graphic design major, said.

Amanda Mountain, a business management major, said the presentation reminded her about the importance of staying focused. “I spread myself out a little too much sometimes and I need to cut out more of those distractions in my life,” she said.

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