Matt Crookshank (BFA '98)

Portrait of Matt Crookshank

Matt Crookshank is a Canadian painter, animator, digital artist and master of all things mystical. He dares to paint fearlessly and without restraint.

From mystical storytelling to alchemical investigations, his works call to mind the traditional lineage of American abstract expressionists Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell with the contemporary colour mastery of Peter Halley and Jonathan Lasker. Crookshank is constantly playing with psychic powers in his intuitive painting, one wand-like brushstroke at a time.

After graduating with a bachelor's of fine arts from the prestigious program at Queen's University, Crookshank worked as an assistant to conceptual Vancouver superstar Ken Lum – famous for his Guggenheim Fellowship – only to carry on and work with high profile curators Niki Dracos, Jamie Angell, and Wil Kucey to showcase his colorfully explosive paintings in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, London, Switzerland, Mexico and Toronto over the past 10 years. He is currently Represented by Niki Dracos at General Hardware Contemporary in Toronto and Hector Espinoza at Galeria Anomalia in Mexico City. He has been called "one of the most important Canadian painters" in the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Toronto Star and Canadian Art, and remains in the limelight as one of the best ones to watch in Carte Blanche, an exclusive hardcover book selected by the jury of the Magenta Foundation, which saw their launch at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto. He was recently featured in the main space at the Canadian Painting Survey show 60p, alongside luminaries Kim Dorland, Jennifer Marman & Daniel Borins, and Shelley Adler.

When I finished highschool, I was accepted into several different art programs.  After a lot of meditation, what brought me to Queens was the small class sizes, and the 24hr studio access.  I'm a bit of a studio rat, and my practice develops through practice.  Many of the friends I made in the program are colleagues of mine today.   There was such an abundance of talent in the program, I felt inspired to push myself as hard as I could.  I often look back at my years at Queens as some of the most enjoyable of my life.  It was a great place to cultivate talent outside of the spotlight of Toronto or Montreal, and just to allow myself to learn and grow at my own pace.   I found at Queen's so many opportunities to try out different hats, without fear of failure.   I helped to launch the first two issues of Ultra-Violet, the ongoing campus creative glossy, even giving it the name.  I was elected president of the standout student run Union Gallery, and my work was written about often in the local papers.   I'm sure I would not have had that type of freedom in a larger program where you are one of the herd.


Artwork: 'Unlikely Event 2'
The Unlikely Event 2
24"x24 • Oil on canvas
Matt Crookshank 2012
Artwork: 'The Bold and the Beautiful 2'
The Bold and the Beautiful 2
24"x36" • Oil and epoxy on canvas
Matt Crookshank 2012