Walter T. Matia is active/lives in Maryland, Ohio. Walter Matia is known for wildlife sculpture-birds and sporting dogs, fountains.
Biography from the Archives of askART
Maryland-based wildlife sculptor Walter Matia, born in 1953, got an
early start at paying attention to creatures that soar, crawl or hide
in the grass. He was raised near a wooded park in a Cleveland
suburb and says his boyhood days were filled with "bird-watching,
botanizing, log flipping and collecting." As an avid duck hunter, he
has experienced "a lifetime of icy mornings, blistered feet,
mosquitoes, torrid afternoons, chapped hands, wonderful dinners and the
companionship of great and knowledgeable friends"all of which he
eventually translated into his art.
Biography from the Archives of askART
Matia's early artistic
leanings were encouraged by his parents and teachers. Art museums were
a familiar part of life. From high school until a year or two
after college, he spent every summer working in the exhibits department
of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where details of wildlife
and their habitats became etched in his mind.
degrees in biology and art design from Williams College in
Massachusetts, Matia spent the next twelve years working for the Nature
Conservancy. As vice-president in charge of land management, he
traveled frequently, often visiting unusual ecosystems in the company
of some of the country's best naturalists. It was an excellent
opportunity to hone observation skills that later would come into
constant use in his art.
In 1986, Matia left the Nature
Conservancy to focus on sculpture. His first subjects were birds,
creatures he finds inherently beautiful. "Some of the leggy birdstheir
gestures are so elegant, they're sculptural." A few years later, he
moved on to mammals, beginning a long and happy relationship with such
subjects as bird dogs, foxes and deer.
sculpture followed. Among Matia's larger-than-life-size
commissions is the fighting bull logo of the Merrill Lynch Corporation
headquartered in New York City. The artist was also commissioned to
create a fountain and a wall frieze for Blair House, the U.S.
President's official guest house in Washington, D.C. He has sculpted
pieces for the Wichita Botanical Gardens in Kansas; Benson Park
Sculpture Garden in Loveland, Colorado; and a nine-foot-tall eagle for
American University in Washington, D.C.
Matia's work has been
featured in the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition; Society of Animal
Artists shows; National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming; and
the Prix de West Invitational at the National Cowboy and Western
Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. In 1996, Matia was elected a
professional member of the National Sculpture Society.
aims for a visually pleasing balance between surface details, gesture
and form. "Sometimes I want the surface to be "talky," where the
surface texture says a lot. Other times, the line and silhouette are
very powerful, and I want the surface to shut up. It's so important to
make sure the surface texture doesn't overwhelm the volumes and planes,
which are what sculpture is all about."
After the studio work is
done, Matia spends a considerable amount of time at the foundry,
experimenting with patinas, and making sure the first casting in an
edition is close enough to what he envisioned as he worked in wax. If
it's not, a decision must be made about whether to go back and
re-sculpt or throw the mold away and accept the mistake as another
lesson for improving the next piece.
"Satisfaction in this
business comes from trying harder and harder things, and the death of
your soul is when you stop trying to do harder things."
Gussie Fauntleroy, Southwest Art, July 2001
Walter Matia graduated from Williams College in Williamstown,
Massachusetts with degrees in biology and art design. Matia next had a
seven year apprenticeship with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
He went on to the Nature Conservancy in Arlington, Virginia where he
served as head of land management for eleven years.
Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, IV
his first sculpture in 1980. Four years later he decided to work with
sculpture full time. Matia's range includes small avian subjects,
sporting animals and other mammals to garden fountains and major
Walter Matia regularly participates in the
Society of Animal Artists shows, the Waterfowl Festival in Easton,
Maryland and the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, South
Wildlife Art, July/August 2002
Walter Matia was educated at Williams College in Massachusetts, where
he earned degrees in Biology and Art Design. Much of his training
was attained during a long apprenticeship in the Exhibits Department of
the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
Biography from Red Piano Art Gallery
After leaving the
Cleveland Museum, Walter worked for eleven years with the Nature
Conservancy, a national non-profit organization dedicated to the
preservation of endangered species and unique habitats. He served
as the organization's vice president in charge of land management.
began casting bronze sculptures in 1980. Initially, he
concentrated on bird life, and over the years he has worked on sporting
dogs and other mammals. In 1987 he began a series of large
fountain and garden pieces. In 1989 the Blair House Restoration
Committee placed one of his fountains in the formal garden of the
United States President's Guest House. To complement the
fountain, Walter produced a bronze wall frieze for the Blair House in
His works have been exhibited in one man shows at the
Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Southern Alleghenies Museum
of Art. Walter is a regular participant in the Society of Animal
Artists shows, National Sculpture Society, Easton Waterfowl Festival,
Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival and the Prix de West Invitational
Exhibition. Walter is a Fellow of the National Sculpture Society. He
received the National Sculpture Society's 2003 Gold Medal Award for
"Large Great Blue Heron Pair"; the 2005 Bronze Medal Award Pietro &
Alfriedo Montana Memorial Prize for "A Fool for Love"; the 2006 Society
of Animal Artists Leo J. Meiselman Award for "Molly is a Working Girl";
the 2006 Prix de West James Earl Fraser Award for "Promise of Spring"
and the 2007 Masters of the American West, Kenneth T. & Eileen L.
Norris Foundation Award for Sculpture. Walter Matia was named Master
Wildlife Artist at the 2008 Birds In Art Exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey
Woodson Art Museum in Waussau, WI. In recognition of the Society of
Animal Artists Annual Award of Excellence and outstanding artistic
talent Walter recieved the honor of Master Signature Member.
sculptures have been selected for the Leigh Yawkey Woodson, "Birds in
Art" exhibitions and have toured with various shows to dozens of
museums both in the States and abroad. Outdoor commissions
include: the Wichita Kansas Botanical Gardens; the Benson Park
Sculpture Gardens in Loveland, Colorado; American University in
Washington D.C., Deerwood Office Park in Jacksonville, Florida, the
National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Cleveland
Zoological Society and Heidleberg College, Tiffin, OH.
In 1988 Walter was commissioned to produce the Merrill Lynch Bull at a
scale of 1.5 times life-size. When completed they were installed
at the corporate regional offices in Florida, New Jersey and
Fall 2001 Walter accepted a commission from the Houston Texans NFL team
to sculpt six monument Spanish Fighting Bulls as team icons for the
entrances of their new stadium in Houston, Texas. Six 1 1/2 times
life size bulls were completed and installed August 2003. In
2004, Walter completed a twelve foot diameter sundial commissioned by
the Cleveland Museum of Natural History which depicts the Evolution of
Life. The ESSFTA, English Springer Spaniel Field Trial
Association has commissioned a life size English Springer Spaniel which
will be installed early 2007 at the Bird Dog Hall of Fame in Grand
Degreed in Biology and Art Design from Williams College in
Massachusetts, Walter Matia attained much training during a long
apprenticeship in the Exhibits Department of the Cleveland Museum of
Natural History. After leaving the museum, Matia worked for
eleven years with the Nature Conservancy, a national non-profit
organization dedicated to the preservation of endangered species and
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Matia began casting his sculpture in
1980. Initially concentrating on bird life, he has since worked
on sporting dogs and other mammals. His works have been exhibited in
one-man shows at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the
Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art. In 1996, he was elected as a
Professional Member of the National Sculpture Society.
works have been selected for the prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson,
"Birds in Art" exhibitions. Numerous outdoor commissions are
attributed to Matia, most notably the Merrill Lynch bull, which is
featured outside the company's regional offices. A Walter Matia
fountain resides in the formal garden of the United States Presiden'ts
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