Matt Jatkola has been part of the MCA staff since 2007. As Creative Services Manager, he designs the print and web materials for our programs and productions and installs all the artwork for our exhibits. In addition to his work at MCA, he’s also a songwriter, musician, producer, and artist. He’s the touring guitarist for NYC indie rock band STRANGEPRIDE, front person of the power pop band JATK, and one half of genderless/genreless duo FBGM. His songs have been placed in TV shows (90210), commercials (IC Credit Union, Wada Farms), and he composed the score for an indie film (Bloody Henry). He released a solo album of covers & remixes this past summer and is working on new original music to release in 2021.
What’s your earliest memory of the arts?
My mom studied art and some of my first memories are of her working on drawings, sculptures, and paintings in our house when I was young. The other early childhood memory I have is standing in front of the TV mimicking Michael J. Fox’s guitar solo in Back to the Future. 🙂
Do you have a favorite memory or story about MCA?
One of my favorite (and most labor intensive) art exhibits at MCA was Nathalie Miebach’s Changing Waters exhibit in 2009. Even though it took forever to install, it looked amazing and really transformed our space. I also have fond memories of all the staff members who have worked at the center over the years. We’ve had some amazing, dedicated people on our team and still do!
How have you stayed connected to the arts this past year?
I’ve tried not to let anything in the past year hinder my personal creativity. I feel just as creative now as I did eleven months ago – maybe more so. I’m very fortunate that I’ve still been able to write and record music, collaborate on projects for MCA, and more fully embody my introverted self by working from home. Limitations this year have been plentiful, but I find myself encouraged to be more creative in the face of them. I also have a much steadier routine nowadays, which helps me stay productive. Outside of my own work, I’ve tried to stay connected to my favorite artists, musicians, and organizations online. This might not be a popular opinion, but I really enjoy streamed events! I like that I can see a performance from the comfort of my own home. Sure, I miss live events, but there’s a lot to be said for what’s happening virtually right now.
What artistic project are you working on now?
I’m working on a large batch of original songs, which might become a full-length album or a series of shorter releases in the new year. There are many songs I’ve written recently and over the past few years that I’m ready to finish and share now. I’ve started collaborating remotely with other musicians and producers to make this all happen. For example, I recently sent some of my demo recordings to three different drummers, which they will now re-record on their end and send back to me to build on. I’m actually collaborating with more musicians right now than I ever have, and all in new, interesting ways. I also started a few personal visual art projects, where I’m taking photos and drawing every day.
Who’s your favorite artist (of any form—visual arts, theater, music, dance)?
I could write a long list, but I’ll keep it short and say Andy Warhol and The Beatles.
Do you have a favorite artwork?
El Jaleo by John Singer Sargent
Do you have a favorite quote about the arts or one you’d like to share?
“[Music] does not express this or that individual or particular joy, sorrow, or pain… but rather joy, sorrow, or pain as such in themselves, abstractly.”
– Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation
“Have a good time, all the time.”
– Viv Savage, Spinal Tap
To learn more about Matt, visit his website. You can find his music on Bandcamp, Spotify, and anywhere you stream music.
Photo by Aneleise Ruggles