Madeline Carol Matz aka M. C. Matz aka mcmatz (depending on the time of day, where you are looking, and the disposition of the humours). I am an artist that typically works in fantastic subject matter placed in vintage settings. In my youth, I was accused of copy work because “it had to have come out of a book.” Highest compliment yet.
I did the art for the graphic novel Sticks & Bones: Home Is Where the Hearth Is written by Valya Dudycz Lupescu which was funded by a successful Kickstarter. I also ran the Kickstarter and did the product design for the Amanda Palmer Tarot, with art from 78 different artists to which I also contributed the Knight of Cups card.
Good things to read.
Outliers:The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. This book should be read by everyone. It reveals an essential truth about life that I think can lead to a more compassionate viewpoint. Yes, the much trumpeted 10,000 hours will bring you mastery of a skill and set you up to be ready for success but the key to success is not inherent in the talents, skills or hard work of these individuals but lies in their circumstances – the luck of the draw.
Examples of success and lack of success and the reasons are vividly illustrated. The time, the place, the family you are born into, even the month of the year you born or the disposition of your university administrator, all these small things, not only shape your character but also present the opportunities you have available to exploit and capitalize on that well-honed skill..
I think if we stopped lionizing the individual as being the sole author of their life and recognized that chance plays a much larger role than we are comfortable admitting, we might not have a less contentious, greedy society and improve our own lot by the raising of others.
Runners up: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell, The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies, and Nations by James Surowiecki, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (I like my non-fiction titles with semi-colons.)
The Lives and Times of Archy & Mehitabel by Don Marquis. A vers libre poet cockroach who writes by jumping head first onto the keys of a typewriter (Archy) and a cat who believes she is the reincarnation of Cleopatra (Mehitabel) and their exploits delightfully illustrated by George Herriman.
Archy, heroically types out his work at night in exchange for scraps left in the trash. archy types in all lowercase because the shift key was too hard on his old bean. Whimsical and philosophical in best possible way. Toujour gai is my motto, cheerio my deario.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. This is one of my favorite books of all time. The underground world, the rats, the tube stations, the night markets the Beast of London, Vandemar and Croup, the Marquis, the lovely Door and Richard Mayhew’s fall into that world are all mesmerizing. It is dark and dank and glistening with the possibility of anything. It is a grown up fairy tale in a modern, urban setting that is well-worn at the edges. When I cannot go to sleep I play the audio version as read by Mr. Gaiman himself and nod blissfully off, often to the lulling rhapsodies of Mr Croup.
Good things to watch.
Sherlock, BBC/PBS. Yes, this is the Steven Moffat/Mark Gatiss updating of the classic Arthur Conan Doyle tales that is oh so popular and I am an unapologetic fangirl for it. There I said it. There are plot holes and improbabilities but the pacing, the dialogue and the acting is superb. Holmes and Watson played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are a perfect pairing of imperfect flatmates. Even the smaller roles of Lestrade, Mrs Hudson and a non-canon character, Molly are energetically written and played.
They have done a wonderful job updating Sherlock Holmes into the 21st century. A good part of the fun is watching how the original canon ids used and referred to in each episode. The serendipity that Watson being an army medical doctor returning from Afghanistan is both amazing and depressing. The only complaint is the dearth of episodes. It began in 2010 and to date there are only nine 90-minute episodes.
Singin’ In The Rain. The MGM musical that was meta before meta was cool. Gene Kelly, a wonderfully athletic dancer and witty director helmed this production. With a rubber-boned Donald O’Connor and introducing Debbie Reynolds (who in an ironic footnote did not do her own singing!), we are taken back to old Hollywood and the dawn of the talkies. Every musical number is a gem from the titular “Singin’ in the Rain”, to “Make ‘Em Laugh”, “Good Morning” and the pull all stops out “Broadway Melody Ballet” featuring Cyd Charisse and in the inevitable cheesy MGM closeup pullout shot at the end.
The Tall Guy. I do love my Richard Curtis rom-coms. This one stars Jeff Goldblum and Emma Thompson. Goldblum is a struggling actor and Thompson the nurse he is crushing on. Along the way there is a musical version of The Elephant Man – Elephant! Which includes the tear jerking number “He is Packing His Trunk” along with one of the funniest sex scenes ever. Good times.
Good things to use.
Bulletproof coffee with cinnamon. Bulletproof Coffee is available from the Upgraded Executive website They use single source beans processed in a way that reduces micro-toxins. Whatever. It is just yummy. The classic Bulletproof Coffee beverage involves using these beans to brew coffee and then blending the brewed coffee with KerryGold unsalted butter and MCG oil/coconut oil – which is really very good but too complicated for me most days – who needs to clean out a blender. These days I opt for adding some Frontier brand ground Vietnamese Cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureirii) to the beans when I grind them and then have Kalona Supernatural whipping cream with my brewed coffee.
Logitech Trackball. My Logitech Trackball, how do I love thee? Oh so many ways. I work at my computer all day and this trackball mouse has saved me from carpal tunnel syndrome. It can be a little awkward to get accustomed to using it but once you do you will never ever miss your mousepad.
Golden Matte Fluid Acrylics. It does seem like I should mention some actual art supplies. Golden Matte Fluid Acrylic paints are what I used to paint Sticks and Bones: Home is Where the Hearth Is and they are what I use for most of my painting. I prefer fluid paint to tube paint because it makes for easier mixing and thinner layers. They are matte which causes less color shift as they dry and the when they do dry the painting surface has less of that glossy plastic finish you usually get with acrylics and instead has a lovely velvety matte finish like gouache. This is especially important when you are going to be scanning the work for reproduction. It eliminate glares from the scanner light bouncing off the surface.
Connect with MC on Twitter, @MCMatz.