Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Latecomer to Art

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Latecomer to Art

Article excerpt

(SERIES: THE CREATIVE PROCESS)

Portraits of cultural icons come to life at a garage in Lakewood Ranch

The beige wall-to-wall carpet in Matt Pecson and Jennifer Carroll's Lakewood Ranch home looks like a Jackson Pollock painting, with spots of black and red, drips of yellow and blue.

In a word, it's ruined.

Fortunately, the pair aren't tenants but homeowners, and have embraced Pecson's artistic impulses. One wall in the family room, where "Hawaii Five-O" plays endlessly on a big-screen TV, has been given over to a huge Magic Markered graphic; the garage has been turned into his studio; and the living room is where Pecson meets with potential buyers. His "contemporary pop art" paintings of rock 'n' roll icons from Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison to Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan hang on every wall.

Pecson, 47, is a latecomer to painting; earlier his interests were in photography and graphic design. He grew up in Camp Spring, Maryland, the son of a doctor "who didn't think art was a career path. He wanted me to go into medicine."

Instead, Pecson studied art and psychology at Mount St. Mary's.

"That went straight to hell immediately," he said. He quit school one math credit shy of a degree and went to work as a graphic designer.

His path took a major shift in direction in 2013, when he met Carroll, an IBM consultant. The two met on an online forum for people recovering from surgery, hit it off, and fell in love. He moved into her Lakewood Ranch home; she bought him an easel and art supplies "just for something to do," she said.

It sat in the corner, untouched, for months.

One day, he took up the brushes and paints and began.

"It'll disturb my sleep. I'll have these waves of creativity that will keep me awake," said Pecson. "As Joseph Campbell says, if you follow your bliss, doors will open. It's the first time I feel like I've found my purpose."

Pecson has synesthesia, a sensory condition in which one sense triggers another -- in his case, he "hears" music as colors.

"It's so hard to explain synesthesia," he said. "It's almost like letting the media dance to the music."

In his garage cluttered with cans of spray paint, tubes of paint and a rolling cart filled with brushes, Pecson uses as surfaces everything from traditional large-scale canvases to sections of board fencing to doors to old LP vinyl records. …

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