Photography: Lauren Brown

Mat is an only child from Wisconsin, who grew up with a single mother on a farm. He now lives in Los Angeles, and is the artist behind Cut and Canvas. Mat and I met through mutual friends in the music industry. Both part of Slytherin House, and were immersed in the Warped Tour scene back in the day.

Q: After reading and or listening (yup, that’s an option) to WTF is OCS?  What personality traits stood out to you in relation to yourself? Were there any you didn’t agree with? 

A: I would probably say being possessive, selfish, or self centered.  Being alone forced me to kind of fend for myself, and make my own fun.  Playing games alone, I specifically remember playing video games alone for both characters.  Growing up in the country I didn’t have friends that could come over and play with me, so I would play pretend more than I think most kids would.  My imagination sculpted me to become creative and artsy.  When I went to school, I was good at fitting in, and playing whatever role that I needed to. I learned to adapt in order to overcome any obstacle that was thrown my way. 

Q:  What exactly was your family dynamic, who were the main people in your life you considered “family” when you were young?

A:  My real dad wasn’t in the picture, so it was mostly just my mom until I was 8 or 9 years old.  She then met my stepdad, who was around but also a trucker and on the road 90% of my childhood.  They didn’t have the best relationship, so he wasn’t the best father figure.  She mostly raised me on her own, a strong independant woman, very giving and kind, my rock.  As an adult I definitely relate to females more now, and a lot of my friends are women. 

Q:  You’re from Wisconsin and I’m from Michigan, so we quickly bonded over our Midwest roots.  Did knowing I was also an Only strengthen that friendship? 

A:  I think more so what attracted our personalities is rooted in the Midwest.  The ability to go out and want to meet people, and prod and ask questions to get to know people.  A lot of LA residents go out just to be somewhere or be seen, and aren’t actually trying to connect with other individuals.  I’ve always been good at networking, and having real interactions with people. 


Q:  Did you like being an only child, or did you wish you had siblings? 

A: My mom actually did get pregnant when I was in middle school, and that day she told me I was so excited I would have someone to play with and hang out with.  I didn’t know how to take the situation, because I also thought wait I have to share my shit with this person?  No, I’m always first player.  A month or so later she found out that she had a miscarriage, which was devastating.  I couldn’t decide if I was let down or a dark part of me was happy.  I was bummed that I wouldn’t have this blood connection with someone, this thing that people call “family.”  

Q:  When you were alone as a kid, what did you do? 

A:  Lots of skateboarding, because if you are by yourself team sports aren’t really a thing.  This was before skateboarding was cool.  Our closest neighbors were a mile down the road, and a Mennonite family.  I would drive my dirt bike there to go hunting with the boy around my age.  We would shoot pigeons, and do Wisconsin things together.  

Q:  Do you think growing up alone and or with just your mom, makes it harder to have romantic relationships?  Is it easier and more comfortable for you to be alone? 

A:  I wouldn’t say in a romantic sense being alone is easier, but I do think it’s hard for me to find a companion since I am so self centered.  I often have the it’s my way or the highway mentality.  Thankfully, I’ve found someone who can understand and cope with my personality.  It’s definitely hard to mesh with, and other only children most likely have the same difficulty.  You have to find someone that will kind of go with whatever you say, and live with it?  I don’t think two only children could be together. I would be dumbfounded if you find a couple, and if you do you need to interview them. (laughs)

Q: What’s one misconception about OCS that you wish would be changed, and or how can you educate others on what it means to you? 

A:  I would say being spoiled.  I wasn’t spoiled.  I feel like that definitely has to do with money, and if your family was wealthy.  I dealt with what I had, and my mom got me what she could.  I never threw tantrums when I didn’t get something materialistic I wanted.  Once someone finds out I’m an only child, the first thing they say is “omg you’re spoiled!”  They just assume I need the whole entire world, which isn’t the case, but whatever I say goes, so fuck you. (laughs again – because Only children are fucking hilarious)

Q:  How has your OCS helped you in your current career/art?  For people who don’t know what that art is, tell us a little about that.

A:   I like tinkering around quite a bit.  I love being alone and working on little projects, and figuring out things that I have never done before.  Whether it be remodeling, or learning a new trade.  I can learn to do anything in a day or two, and I find I’m always trying to improve myself in that sense.   Cut and Canvas started with me finding myself collaging and drawing during my alone time.  I centered it around vintage Playboy art, which as I have gotten older I view as a gentlemen’s brand.  I look at the 60’s and 70’s magazines, and the presentation of what being a gentleman actually was back then.  Not so much about the women, they simply come along with all of these other things.  I’ve done several different wall pieces, and have a Playboy editorial in the works right now.  I have carried it into clothing, and am working on a Sinner brand right now.  One project at a time. 


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