"Escape" by Matthew Norton
Matthew E. Norton was born in Bismarck, ND and raised in the small town of Riverdale, ND. His mother, Brenda, was a large influence on his creativity. While growing up, Matthew’s mother often provided an environment of creativity. She often had arts and crafts days for her 2 sons and the neighborhood children. Matthew created mud sculptures from the Missouri River clay, painted mosaic style on giant boulders, created art using the nature found around him, while continuing to grow in appreciation and awe for the design, beauty and balance found in that nature.
Matthew received his AA and AS from BSC. He has taken various art classes while attending college, but creating his own art did not become his focus until years later.
Initially Mr. Norton favored computer generated art. He created images and video in his spare time just for fun. It wasn't until he found himself with restricted and limited options that he evolved to his current style.
Matthew was incarcerated in Federal Prison for about eight years for substance abuse. This is where he found his personal inspiration to create. Bouncing through a roller coaster of emotions, Matthew portrays them in his artwork. Due to his restricted and limited resources, Matthew works mainly with pencil and pen in his own unique version of black and white line art.
Using materials available to him, Matthew also designs and creates one of a kind pieces in leather, pottery, and crochet.
Mr. Norton was released on August 14th, and was confined to the halfway house in Mandan for a few months. He is currently living at his residence in Bismarck and works full time while attending BSC for Cybersecurity. Mr. Norton is excited to start working on his goals and dreams in life since his release.
I create with my mind and hands because I love to watch a piece emerge from nothing except the confines of my inner thoughts. When I am creating, I lose myself and seem to get taken away for a time. I get taken away from where I am. I was incarcerated in a Federal Prison for substance abuse, which is where I completed this artwork. Drawing and other forms of art allow my mind to break out, to escape, so to speak, even if just for a short while. I plan to continue to pursue and hone my artistic skills upon my release.
When I put pencil to paper, I clear my mind then usually start with a simple shape. Once I've started, as the piece is getting laid out, it is constantly in flux, and ever changing. Once complete, I lay ink over my pencil markings. I try to only draw when my emotions are running high and happy. At times that can be tough and a challenge, considering my surroundings.
Currently with my creative work, I am really just trying to make something of myself. I have lost years of my life and opportunities found beyond confinement. In part, I am attempting, through my artwork, to regain some of that lost time.
I created the black and white line work to ease my own stress and tensions. I wanted to challenge and prove to myself that I was able to create something in hopes that others might, at least for a time, escape through my art and capture their own peace and joy.