Week 1 – Artist “Interview” – GLAMFA Artist Matthew Usinowicz

“Taking Off”
Matthew Usinowicz
UC Santa Barbara

During week one, the artists aren’t actually present with their pieces, so this isn’t technically an interview, more of a reaction to a particular piece that I found engaging. While there were many pieces that I found interesting, the one that stood out to me, as I mentioned in my classmate interview, was “Taking Off” by Matthew Usinowicz. As you can see, it’s an American Flag with a balloon “head” and it’s tied to the wall so as to stop it from “taking off”. I immediately saw this and thought of two words: American Capitalism. The word ‘ego’ also immediately came to mind. I consider myself a progressive liberal so the idea of an egotistical and money-grubbing America connected with me on a certain level. After taking a look at Matthew’s GLAMFA page, I feel reaffirmed in my interpretation of the piece. Matthew says that his series of pieces are based on his experiences with American capitalism ideologies as a member of the middle class.

As I touched on in my classmate interview, I don’t have much experience with art, particularly viewing more abstract pieces with no explanation of the meaning behind it. That being said, I consider myself a relatively perceptive and insightful person, and I definitely felt an immediate connection with Matthew’s piece and the message behind it. The question that keeps nagging at me is how much my political leanings affected my interpretation of the piece. A traditional, prototypical “patriotic” American might see that piece and read the name “Taking Off” and think that it stands for American greatness, whereas I see it to represent greed and ego. Having taken several philosophy and psychology classes, I am no stranger to the concepts of social filters and perception, and now the concept is reinforced yet again in the realm of art.



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