Matt Koester:  Microsoft Pain

Matt Koester is an artist working across virtually all disciplines. A digital artist, multi-instrumentalist, designer, essayist, poet, playwright, and journalist raised in Warrenville, IL, Matt completed the undergraduate creative writing program at Knox College in 2017. He is now living in Galesburg, IL working as a journalist at the Galesburg Register-Mail newspaper.

While immersed in multi-genre practice, Matt Koester’s creativity most at home in Microsoft Paint, the default image processing program we all know and love. Using the basic features of Microsoft Paint like Copy and Paste, Crop, and the Paint Bucket,  Matt has been able to create a wide and diverse portfolio of dense, dynamic, and playful compositions.  

Drawing influence from animated programming like The Simpsons, Spongebob Squarepants, Ren & Stimpy, The Misadventures of Flapjack, and Pokemon, Matt creates an personalized art style that is accessible and ambiguous, often setting pop culture icons against and abstract expressionist background, resulting in canvases that have no take-home message, no moral-of-the-story.

If any, Matt Koester’s lesson is this: anyone can make art. Any kind of art: painting, music, writing, anything you want. You just have to find a way that works for you. Today, the individual person is equipped with more art-making technology than the most privileged of makers throughout history. Why then, should anyone today think they can’t make art?

Unlike photorealistic illustrators or finely tuned prose writers, Matt Koester's work doesn’t prize technical ability, natural talent, or tactile skill. Matt’s work is often transparent in its imperfections, vulnerable in what those choices might expose, and accepting of the gap between intention and product. 

When we are making art, we should ask ourselves less often, "Is this good?". Instead, a deeper question works just as well, "Is this working for me?” or “Am I having fun?”.