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Matthew Bastion: New Zealand.

Matthew is a boy with many goals. One is to make the planet safer and another is to bridge the worlds of art and sport. The nine-year-old artist took part in ICAF's Third Arts Olympiad, painted a winning artwork on the theme "My Favorite Sport," and invented a new game called "HELD." Now, everyday after school Matt and his friends play this game.

Matthew creates his art in a cool 1950s aluminium caravan. His great-grandfather converted the camping mobile into a custom-made art studio just for him. The young artist lives with his creative family in Te Awamutu on the east coast of the North Island in New Zealand.

Matthew will tell you about his love for art, the fun he had at preschool, and about one of his all-time favourite activities--visits to the local dumpster.

"My first proper memory of doing art is at age 3. I went to an amazing preschool which was on a farm. The children and teachers would go for long farm walks and we would collect eggs from the chickens, ride the donkey and ponies, visit the lambs, pick fruit from the trees in the orchard, and do woodwork with the other children.

Some of the things I made included a pair of skiis with poles. I also made a scarecrow for my vegetable garden to scare the birds that ate my strawberries. It was 5 foot high! I can't remember if it worked but I do remember feeling so proud as it sat in my garden.

The only problem with being 5 was that I had to go to school and I didn't have the time to do the art that I used to have. So I started getting up at 5am every morning and doing my art until about 7am. I had to do art every day and wasn't satisfied with the amount I was allowed to do at school. Most mornings I would do a mix of sketching, painting or modelling. Sometimes all of them.

My art has gone through several changes. After my woodwork stage, I started drawing birds and boats. I made my model boats from boxes, paper, cardboard and things lying around the house--pieces of plastic, bottles, iceblock sticks.... anything!

At this stage I was still doing all of my art in my bedroom. My room always looked a mess. Stuff everywhere! I have tried to organise myself but usually I have things all over the place--stuff that I have "found" that I could use sometime ... for something.... like bits of bark, shells, pebbles, cellophane, pictures from the newspaper or magazines, bits of wire--all plonked all over the place!

My junk love has always been there. Whenever I see something that I think I can use for something--I ask if l can have it. I loved, and still do love pulling things apart to see how they work. At the dump were engines and old appliances that I could pull apart and fiddle with to see how they worked! I used to love going to the dump with Dad--so that I could see all the junk that someone had thrown away. About a year ago, the stuff at the dump became part of my art. I would go there with the purpose of looking for the wire that I needed or the iron, interesting stuff.

Art helps people to be aware of other places and other people and what is going on in their place. It makes my world bigger.

Art can make people see things that they might not have seen--they become awake and aware. Art can help people to change their small idea and their small opinion.

I also enjoy the positive reaction I get from people when I give them my art. I like that I can share with them something that I have seen and feel and then they can understand and share their ideas too.

I like that art tells a story--it might be a story that I am wanting to tell or it might be a story that I am able to listen to by sharing someone elses art.

I like that I can start with an idea in my head and in the end--if I have let the idea be free, my art might be totally different from what I imagined. Art can have its own mind."
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Title Annotation:Spotlight
Publication:ChildArt
Date:Jul 1, 2005
Words:726
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