As a kid, Matthew McHugh learned to draw long before he ever learned to write.
McHugh, a junior art major at Colorado State University, said he had an interest and passion in painting and drawing since he was born. McHugh specializes in watercolor paintings and black and white charcoal drawings. One of his charcoal drawings is featured in the Curfman Gallery located in the Lory Student Center.
“I think art is just part of who I am, but also my interest was partly due to growing up surrounded by so much art,” McHugh said. “My dad was an art teacher, and it was always inspiring because I’ve always liked his work, but at the same time, I’ve always wanted to make sure I had a presence outside of that. I didn’t want to be reliant on his work as something that defined my artistry.”
The Curfman Gallery showcases the creations of nationally and internationally recognized students, and the work of local and student artists, according to their website. McHugh’s art was showcased as part of the Student Art Exhibit.
“The piece is the third piece in my environment series and is called Environment Three,” McHugh said. “The concept focuses more on the connection between people and their perceived environments over time. It is more focused on an internalized or created setting.”
McHugh said he favors drawing charcoal drawings because the black and white colors bring out a sense of ambiguity and contrast.
“A lot of my concepts are focused more on the contrast between the complexity that we have about self awareness and perception, and the contrast of chaos and ambiguity,” McHugh said. “With the black and white charcoal, you could be as clear, but as undefined as you want, whereas with color, it ends up defining things itself.”
According to McHugh’s Rocky Mountain High School art teacher, Missy Wolf, McHugh’s artwork has greatly evolved over time.
“I feel that he has grown tremendously,” Wolf said. “He’s a very technical artist which is wonderful to me, but now his artwork really says something. I feel that his artwork is more conceptual now than it used to be.”
According to McHugh’s brother, Jonathan McHugh, a junior art major at CSU, he noticed the change in McHugh’s art within the past two years.
“I think he’s very skilled overall,” Jonathan said. “He’s incredible at drawing realistically, but also with having an emotional power behind his drawings. He’s also becoming stronger in the areas of symbolism and more abstract art as well.”
McHugh said his ultimate goal with his conceptual art pieces, is to spark questions, instead of answering them.
“I think a lot of times my goals, within these conceptual pieces that I’m making for the art program, are to raise questions about the way we perceive our reality and our relationship with our circumstances and our environments,” McHugh said.
After graduation, McHugh plans to attend graduate school in hopes of someday teaching his own art class in college. He also said he plans on selling his art in addition to teaching.
Collegian Reporter Amanda Thompson can be reached at email@example.com or @amanduhh3003.