New York based artist Monty J. Mattison – known simply as Monty J – creates dreamlike sculptural vessels that invariably become the focal points of environments they’re placed in. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Monty J was captivated by clay from a young age when he was introduced to the medium in a kindergarten class.
In 2013, Monty J joined New York functional art collective Gray Space, and began working with ceramics full time. In recent years, the artist’s work caught the attention of designer Kelly Behun, who became mesmerized by Monty’s surreal singular creations when she noticed them in an Instagram post. The interior designer purchased several of the pieces and later featured them in her highly regarded residential and commercial projects, including a pop-up exhibition at Barney’s New York.
Central to Monty J’s creative process is facilitating a sense of dialogue, between the vessel, it’s inhabitant (often a living plant) and the beholder. “I like things that can be of use as opposed to just appreciated statically on the wall,” the artist says. “It’s there with you and you have to tend to it, so it’s much more personal to me.”
Indeed, Monty J’s pieces – when used for plants – offer a sense of juxtaposition and creative wonder when the organic (plant) meets the inorganic (vessel). The result is a highly collectible object that feels entirely unique, almost alive and quixotic. Little wonder these small wonders, created in clay, are often given monikers like Sharon, Lola or Lydia. “With my sculptures I seek to form a partnership with nature, to create an ecosystem where nature is the star and I am simply creating the stage,” the designers says.