Matt Clark:Mormon Sculptor
Matt Clark is an American sculptor who overcame a serious injury to create works of art, primarily from scrap metal. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Clark, born in 1961, grew up on a farm north of St. George, Utah. At age 15, he started working with metal, taught himself to weld, and bought a welding machine. This early interest led him to a create art objects by welding, cutting, grinding, and forging. He uses scrap metal objects, steel, and stone to create his unique sculptures. His pieces range from contemporary to whimsical.
He wanted to become a professional rodeo cowboy and had made the national high school finals during his junior year. But at age 17, he sustained a severe spinal cord injury while working on his truck. Doctors told him he should expect to live only four or five years and that he should check into a rest home. Instead, he rehabilitated at home and gradually gained strength. Being wheelchair bound led him to create new techniques and tools to forge a different life.
His first piece, a dinosaur, was created when he noticed the shapes of some pieces of scrap metal and started welding them together. When people liked his creation, he decided to try more pieces. Each of his pieces has at least one discarded item. He said that his work to bring together odd objects into a new entity mirrors what he had to do with his own life: “become something different” than what he thought he was going to be.
Clark has been a metal sculptor since the mid 1990s. His work is displayed throughout Southern Utah (Juniper Sky Fine Art Gallery, 2Design, Sage Outdoor Décor, Worthington Gallery) and in Taos, New Mexico (Envision Gallery). He also shows out of his studio by appointment. He has won numerous awards for his work. He has also been a mentor to young people.
He is the son of Boyd Clark, a soil scientist, and Lynne Clark, an photographer and artist. She wrote Images of Faith, which features 1,200 photos depicting 150 years of St. George history. Her own paintings and her son’s sculptures are also featured in the book.
DocUtah filmmaker Spencer Sullivan created a documentary about Clark entitled “Pieces of the Soul.” It was screened in 2013 at the Hamilton, New Zealand, Waikato Art Gallery; the Logan, Utah, Film Festival; the Art in Kayenta Festival in Ivins, Utah; the CSWE Virtual Film Festival, Alexandria, Virginia; and the DocUtah Film Festival, Southwestern Utah. The film was the focal point of the 2014 LDS Film Festival held at the Scera Center in Orem, Utah.
“Pieces of the Soul” preview: