Imitating Life Posing Questions to local artist Vincent Mattina

Cory Bilicko
Managing Editor

California Heights resident Vincent Mattina’s day job is art director/designer in the garment industry doing branding and packaging, but in his free time he creates highly detailed, incredibly imaginative mixed-media pieces that take the Steampunk approach to more sophisticated, surrealistic places.

“Low Tide,
“Low Tide,” digital mixed media

The 53-year-old has a bachelor’s degree in illustration and fine art. He works on three-dimensional sculptural pieces in his studio and digital art in his home office.

The St. Louis, Missouri native’s work will be on display at the Expo Art Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave., beginning Friday, June 5 at an opening during the First Fridays Art Walk from 6pm to 10pm. The show will continue through July 1.

If you chose to suddenly do work that is completely different from what you normally create, what would it likely be?

I would like to be an oceanic explorer like Bob Ballard. His work intrigues me; he is actually going places no one has ever seen, on our own planet.

How do you feel when people ask you to explain the meaning of your art?

I feel that if they are interested enough to ask, I take it as a compliment. I have found that my interpretation may not be what they see in it; sometimes their vision is fascinating.

“Wild Life,
“Wild Life,” assemblage

Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?

Absolutely. I listen to most every genre of music, but while I am working I like to listen to instrumental: Brian Eno, Amon Tobin, Max Richter, Clint Mansell, Jonny Greenwood, Miles Davis, Bill Laswell, Jon Hassell, Robert Fripp, Michael Brook. I could go on and on. I love music.

What’s the typical size of one of your paintings?

My digital images are made at 4800 x 6000 pixels, which is around 16 inches by 20 inches.

“Delta Waves,
“Delta Waves,” digital mixed media

How much time do you usually spend on one piece?

Lately, I have been slowing myself down to make more complex images. I would say 20 to 30 hours.

What tips would you share with a painter who wanted to achieve the sense of realism you accomplish in your work?

Take your time, and do a lot of research to find good references.

Why Steampunk?

I have always liked Steampunk, even before it was called Steampunk. As a kid I loved books and movies envisioned by H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. The Time Machine and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea were some of my favorites.

To view more of Mattina’s work, visit .