Yesterday, as part of required diversity training, I watched a very good film about sculptor Matt Clark. The documentary titled “Pieces of the Soul” tells the extraordinary story of the artist. Matt in his own words:
[My interest in doing sculptural works out of iron scrap] actually happened by accident. I was a self-taught welder starting at 15. After my injury at 17 [which left me mostly wheelchair bound], I picked up the welder a few years later and had to create new techniques and even new tools to make up for the limitations I had. My real fascination was welding. Years later, I saw some pieces of scrap metal and thought, “Those are cool shapes,” and eventually welded together a dinosaur. People liked it. So I decided to try it a little bit more, never thinking I would become an artist.
Matt is the son of Boyd Clark–a soil scientist that I worked with for years. In the documentary, Matt is very appreciative of the strong emotional support that he received after his accident from both of his parents. I know for a fact that Boyd is very proud of his son.
Matt is less excited about the support he got from doctors (one told him he would probably spend 4-5 years in a rest home before passing away), his church (he was unceremonious informed that he couldn’t go on a mission because of his disability), and fellow church members (who told him he could always look forward to the resurrection).
Matt is very careful about how he describes himself. His website makes no mention of his “disability.” In reality, we all have disabilities. It’s how we deal with our disabilities that defines who we are.
Some of Matt’s sculptural work is whimsical, some is widely creative, and some is inspirational. His sculpture “The Painted Pony” includes over 850 pieces of scrap metal, and is creatively thought out and executed. Much of Matt’s work is displayed prominently in the St. George area.
If you get the chance, by all means watch the documentary. And when in St. George, check out his work.
Postscript: Recently (Dec 2015), on St George Blvd, I photographed Matt’s whimsical artistic interpretation of steam engine.