Sculptor.
Artist.
Innovator.

 Who?  
     Matthew Leavell is an innovative artist known for his vibrant and whimsical metal sculptures. His work has been exhibited in 14 US states and is installed in a variety of public and private venues nationwide. Matthew's work is characterized by an unwavering commitment to craftsmanship, genuinely innovative design and execution, and a near fanatical attention to detail. His commitment to his craft stems from a deeply held and often disruptive desire to navigate life in an authentic, creative, and introspective manner. Matthew was raised in a small midwestern town surrounded by  the sprawling cornfields of rural Indiana. He briefly studied theology at a small liberal arts college in the region before his contrarian worldview and wanderlust brought an abrupt end to his career aspirations within the organised religious world. The following decade found him briefly dwelling amongst the Guna peoples in the jungles of central america, traversing 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail in New England, living aboard a small sailboat he restored on the North Carolina Coast, and building a three story home for his young family single handed in the coastal city of Wilmington, NC. After settling in Wilmington, Matthew embarked on a series of business ventures punctuated by brief stints in conventional corporate positions. Each successive chapter of his life outlined yet another frustrated step towards the unbridled, creative existence he was seeking, but had yet to realise. Matthew had built a small custom fabrication business marketing his creative abilities in 2014 when he attended small art show in the Wilmington area. This represented his first real exposure to the professional art world, and proved to be a pivotal moment in his life. He left the art show, and returned to his woodworking and metal fabrication shop where he called each active customer and cleared his schedule for the following two weeks. "What followed was a two week creative orgy infrequently punctuated by distracted moments to sleep or eat. This obsessive method of plunging into a creative mental and physical space devoid of distraction from, or concern for the world outside my studio became disconcertingly common in the coming years", Matthew explains. Within six months, he had shuttered his fabrication company and was creating and selling his art full time. "The moment another soul fell in love with one of my creations and purchased it with the intent to place it in a prominent place in their home and life,  My life changed forever. I had discovered an authentic manner of presenting that which is uniquely me to the world, and was fortunate to find it enthusiastically received. The next several years were a blur of late nights in the studio followed by cannonball runs to art shows or exhibits several states away with a new creation drying in the back of the truck. This time period represented an education in risk and reward, destitution and triumph, the intersection of preparation and blind faith, and led to so very many magical moments with my wife Lisa and son Alex by my side, experiencing it all together. I can't say I wouldn't change a thing, life is about balance and my obsessive nature and aversion to moderation took a toll on my family, friendships, and health. But nonetheless this creative life I have forged for myself is the one I was born to live, and I cannot fathom a altogether divergent path." Matthew has exhibited his work in nearly 100 art shows, exhibits, and competitions since those early days. His larger scale work has been installed in municipal parks, arboretums, botanical gardens, and corporate campuses. Countless smaller pieces are enjoyed in private collections, gardens, and residences nationwide, with pieces displayed privately in multiple European and Middle Eastern locations.  
  What?
​       Matthew has spent a lifetime acquiring skill sets which allow him to express his innate creativity in durable three dimensional mediums. Originally a woodworker, He continually experimented with unconventional applications of a myriad of techniques and materials. The inherent structural limitations of wood and fiberglass led him to pursue proficiency  in MIG welding as a means of reinforcing timber joints and creating armatures for polymer sculptural work. “As soon as I became familiar with the structural capacity of welded steel, I felt that I could create anything. Working in steel allows a sculptor to cantilever tremendous amounts of weight and mass on comparably miniscule points of contact, facilitating the creation of dramatic pieces which depict motion and life.” Matthew’s current body of work consists of whimsical, vibrant, fantastical depictions of botanical subjects, as well as fabricated steel sculptures of a variety of subjects which often share his penchant for whimsy and color. The majority of Matthew’s work is created entirely out of carbon steel, stainless steel, or cast iron, occasionally with glass, stone, or timber accents or bases. Matthew’s work is thoughtfully designed with safety, structural integrity, and durability in mind. His steel work is coated in durable epoxy and urethane finishes such as Axalta’s (formerly Dupont) Imron line, which has seen wide use in both the marine and aerospace industries. Matthew’s vibrant blended paint finishes are designed to retain their color and luster for decades in a variety of climates. More information on the specific products Matthew uses in his work, refer to the Blog page.
  Where?
  Having begun his artistic career in Wilmington, NC, Matthew relocated his home and studio to coastal Virginia in 2016. He now works and lives with his wife of 15 years, Lisa Watson Leavell, and their young son in the quaint bayside village of Mobjack, Virginia. His modest studio sits behind their home surrounded by completed sculptures steps away from a tidal estuary feeding into Chesapeake Bay. Matthew is a Juried Artisan with the Artisan Center of Virginia, and his studio is a stop on ACV’s River to Bay Artisan Trail as well as Made In Mathews Open Studio Tour. Matthew Exhibits his work primarily at shows and exhibits on the eastern seaboard of the United States with occasional trips to points West. His work is installed nationwide, with several international clients returning home to European residences with Matthew’s work.
  Why?
  "My work is often created using recycled, salvaged, and upcycled raw materials which bring their own unique history and character to a sculpture. I see an abandoned or discarded piece of rusted steel as a literal representation of a broken life, an abandoned dream, or a damaged relationship. Salvaging such materials and through inspiration, creativity, and persistence creating an entirely new and beautiful work of art, is not only a personally fulfilling process, but one that stands as an analogy of the nature of life in general. I strive to create art which is vibrant, eclectic, and whimsical, and to create enduring reminders to myself and others of those elements in our shared human existence which are beautiful, joyful, and life-giving."