The many talents of Mathew

Mathew Simms1

The many talents of Mathew

February 2016 | Joanne Eisemann

ONE OF the character traits Mathew Simms values is courage, and he demonstrated that when he moved to Deloraine. “When I came here I didn’t know if I’d be able to pay 2 weeks rent, I just got through.”

Feeling like it was time to expand his area of influence, Mathew moved from Sheffield where he lived for 14 years to Deloraine 3 years ago. His main source of income in Sheffield was playing his windpipes in a local cafe.

Not one for taking government handouts, on moving to Deloraine Mathew took up crafting wooden dolls. He hitched a lift to the Evandale Markets with a local stallholder and began selling them, scraping together enough income to pay his rent, feed himself and gather the materials needed to make more dolls while adding small oil paintings and beautifully detailed handmade smocks to his product range.

“I wanted to access a broader community, I thought this place might be within my price range so I came here. This is excellent, this is a good chapter I’m having, I love this,” says Mathew of his move.

This year Mathew earned enough income over the winter to purchase a car. Just as well too, as the lift he was getting dried up, “this is my total income, I’m so impressed that it’s actually happening,” he explains.

Mathew finds the Evandale market a good place to sell his wares as it attracts many tourists providing new audiences for his work. Commenting on a recent encounter, “I think if Albert Einstein was still alive I would meet him there because you meet people from all through society… I met a girl the other day, she said she likes painting and her grandparents were artists. I said ‘would I have heard of them?’ she smiled and said yes, Sidney Nolan.”

Pictures are now Mathew’s main selling item with some being sold to collectors.

Mathew draws inspiration for his paintings from people he has met through his life but admits he doesn’t always know what he is going to paint when he starts.

“I don’t always have an idea, I just start off and push paint on, I’ve got some idea of where the light and dark is and then it’s like seeing pictures in the clouds – wow, that looks like a person holding a dog!”

Another of Mathew’s talents is writing children’s stories. He has written and illustrated (using his paintings) a series of 7 books, which he hopes to have published some day.

Although his lifestyle might suggest otherwise, Mathew supports the advancement of technology “We are better off having an affluent society and technology helps us. The handling of it doesn’t interest me at all, but I’m really glad it’s happening because I think the longevity of our species is pretty much reliant on finding out what is happening in this universe.”

 Mike Moores