- San Francisco, CA US
An accomplished artist based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Matthew Olyphant has shown his work in a number of public art spaces in cities across the United States. Matthew Olyphant uses a variety of paint-based media to create pieces that demonstrate his artistic interests, which range from fine art to graffiti. Although the practice of writing on walls dates back millennia, graffiti as it is known today is a much newer form of expression. The term “graffiti” is an Italian word meaning “scribbling,” which was first used in the mid-19th century. Most of the graffiti that covers building walls and bathroom stalls stays true to the original definition of the word, but many people over the years have used graffiti in ways that blur the line between vandalism and art. The modern graffiti movement began in New York City in the 1960s and '70s with young people writing their names or nicknames on a variety of public surfaces. Known as tags, some of them became very well known, and soon people began using vivid colors, unique logos, and elaborate backgrounds in their graffiti as a way to express themselves artistically. Still viewed by many as vandals, graffiti artists continue to broaden the definition of art, and some have gone on to find commercial success. The most influential street artists today include Shepard Fairey, who designed the Barack Obama “Hope” poster, and Banksy, the mysterious English figure whose distinctive works have been featured in cities around the world.
San Franciso-based fine artist Matthew Olyphant is frequently commissioned to create fascinating, complex, and deeply personal works of art using paint media. With a strong interest in graffiti and street art, Matthew Olyphant has incorporated some of the bold elements of street art into his own work. Located on 23rd Street between Capp and Mission Streets, a unique talking mural entitled La Lucha Continua (The Struggle Continues) is a project initiated by the Freedom Archives and Susan Greene. The wall represents 35 international personalities from different eras, all known for their artistic, activistic, or philosophical contributions. The wall distinguishes itself from other graffiti and street art murals in the Mission area through its audio component; by dialing specific phone and extension numbers, viewers may hear the voices of featured individuals while standing in front of their portrait. Some of the personalities depicted on the talking mural include Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, Frida Kahlo, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Sitting Bull. Perhaps the most controversial face to appear on the talking mural is that of the Palestinian Leila Khaled, responsible for the 1969 hijacking of an airplane en route to Tel Aviv.