Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Matt Corones sees color in a new way

Meet Ames Artist + Visual Designer Matt Corones

Matt Corones’ entire art career has been focused on one idea – playing off multiple viewing angles and dimensions, creating a kind of art called ‘hyperrealism’.  This is art that centers around the nature of interpretation.

“Take for example Bernini’s Elephant and Obelisk sculpture.  The elephant is smiling from one angle and suddenly frowning when you take a different perspective.  For me, I do this with color.”

As a native to Ames, Matt is a full-time artist working in various mediums from painting, mixed media, video, textiles, and photography.  His education background spans from creating art in kindergarten, all the way to receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cooper Union (in NYC, 2003), followed by a Master of Fine Arts in integrated visual arts from Iowa State University (2012).

I met up recently with Matt to discover his artistic process, what he stands for as an artist, and what he believes is working in the Iowa arts community (with a special call for Iowans to buy more art).

Talk about your background and career in the arts.

I realize I’ve been creating art since kindergarten, but was significantly influenced during my high school years by my teacher (shout out to Mrs. Gugel at Ames High School).  It was the ONLY class I liked since I don’t read super well.  When the books got bigger, my reading stayed the same and I turned to art class.

Later, my high school would participate and enter national art shows, competing against private high schools for the arts.  We kept winning money and scholarships.  It was through this that I applied and was selected to Cooper Union Art School, located in New York City’s East Village.

I had never been to New York until I arrived there for my first week of school.  My first thoughts of the Big Apple was, ‘look at all these buildings…it’s like corn but instead rows of buildings’.  I functioned and survived, and quickly got back to Iowa.  Some argue that Iowa is boring with all the farmland, but I find the space allows me to creatively live and plays a part in the work I create.

What is unique about your life, your art, and the process?

I feel like we are all deserving of God’s love.  I like the idea that if you catch their eyes, their hearts and minds will follow.  My work is generous and easy to engage with visually.  I want to reach the viewer through formal properties of color and composition to begin the process of sharing content.

I am currently making paintings of meteorites with a marbling technique that employs principles of fluid dynamics and hyperspectral paint pallet that function with unique color interactions under fluorescent lighting.

What does a typical day look like?

Every day is a new day.  Two days ago I woke up in the afternoon.  Today, I woke up at 6 in the morning–(laughing) there is no normal routine.  I typically work until I’m out of canvas and paint!  Best time to paint?  Usually late afternoon and night.  I use the daylight to establish the palette, and can paint at night since I know the colors I’m painting with.

What is the first thing someone says when viewing your art?

‘Wow!’ is always my favorite response.

My hope is to establish the signifier/signified relationship between the work and the viewer.  So much contemporary art is about author’s intent without accountability for the viewer’s subjectivity in terms of knowing the backstory behind the artist’s intended meaning.

My work needs no textual introduction.  It functions universally.  The forms, shapes, and colors are accessible to anyone who looks.

What is your biggest challenge as an artist?

The challenge is the business of making money.  I’m personally not wired to see money.  In undergraduate school, a lot of times the question on how to monetize my art business goes unanswered or the teacher says, ‘you’ll figure it out’ and doesn’t teach you business.  As it turns out, that would have been pretty useful.

You can find it in the prestigious graduate schools like Columbia, Yale, and UCLA which are finishing schools.  It’s common to have a mentor in business pair up with an artist. Because of this, they have a strong history of people graduating and becoming successful in the art world.

Talking more about the arts community, what is working in Iowa?

The Mainframe Studios in Des Moines is awesome and it’s a great addition to Central Iowa’s arts community.  There is a great vibe and atmosphere, and Siobhan Spain is doing an awesome job leading it.  I believe right now there are around 70 artists using the space, with plans to expand three times as they renovate the second and third floors.

What could be improved? 

Iowa is an agricultural state by nature, and sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough people who appreciate the arts.  It could be a double-sided problem, where maybe art isn’t doing its job to be understandable, but maybe people don’t have enough appreciation.

All it takes is getting out of your house and driving 15 minutes to where art exists today.  I would add, more people need to buy art and start adding to their own collection!

What are some past projects in the community you’re most proud of?

I was included in the Iowa Artists 2011 exhibit at the Des Moines Art Center.  It was a pleasure to work with the staff there and the show was enlightening.

Coming up next, I have a show at Mainframe Studios (exhibit opening July 6th) titled, Hyper-spectral.  All the pieces will show colors operating in a spectrum that move with light.
Corones’ work at the Des Moines Art Center lobby and PEI building windows during the Iowa Artists 2011 exhibit.

What do you stand for as an artist? 

Love, beauty, sublime, transparency, healing, forgiveness, and the orientation towards God.

How should others find and connect with you?

Visit me at First Friday’s at Mainframe Studios in Des Moines and checkout my art at my website,

Diana Wright is the Director of Marketing and Programs at the Iowa State University Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and a contributor to Clay & Milk

Matt Corones sees color in a new way | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now