Todd A. Matteson
Assistant Professor of Art
MFA, Kansas State University
MA, Purdue University
BA, University of Evansville
A proud member of the Department of Art, Todd openly shares how happy he is to be a part of the team. "Our department is so diverse in the arts and the real-life experience we bring to the classroom really shows," he says. "As faculty at Lourdes, we are lucky to be able to provide each student the benefit of one-on-one time. We can truly give them the support they need to strengthen their skills."
When describing his goals as an instructor, Todd says that first and foremost, he wants students to have fun while creating. "This frees their minds and allows them to see differently," adds Todd.
"I also take pride in knowing my students for who they are, what they want to be and what they want to create," he mentions. "I really listen to them about their work and about anything else they need to discuss. If students are looking for guidance – academic or personal – I am here for them."
Many may be surprised to know that as a youth, Todd wanted to be a professional baseball player. "In high school, I was highly involved in sports and lettered in baseball and football three years in a row," he shares.
"Growing up, my favorite player was Ozzie Smith, shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a hard worker and an all-star with mad fielding skills. He also played baseball for the love of it, not for the money. I respected that."
As an undergraduate student at Evansville, Todd's plans for the future changed when he enrolled in several prerequisite art courses. "I excelled in those courses above all others," notes Todd. "At the end of my sophomore year, I declared my major as Pre-Art Therapy, with a minor in Psychology. My major area in art was painting. I was afraid to take ceramics so I put it off until my senior year. Things worked out after that!"
Today, Todd works primarily in ceramics, though he has not lost his love of other artistic mediums. "I can't pick just one style, but Dadaism, Surrealism and Pop Art are three of my favorites," he says. "I also love sculpture and mixed media art – there is no limit as to what can be created. Artists can get away with a lot more freedom of expression in those areas."
He says his source of inspiration comes from several areas. "Some of my artwork is a reflection of my interest in traditional Native American art and designs as well as my interest in tribal tattoos," notes Todd. "The designs masked off on my vessels illustrate that.
"My new work is in no way related to that at all though – today, the real inspiration behind my artwork is my wife Leah. Ever since we met at Purdue, she has been the driving force behind my work ethic and push to succeed. She believes in me and that makes all the difference in the world."
A new parent, Todd says that fatherhood has made him a better person. "I was always a little impatient, but my son has made me slow down a bit, count and wait on things," he shares. "Just seeing his face everyday does it – besides Leah, he is the best thing ever!"
"If I could teach only one lesson to both my students and my son, it would be dedication, plain and simple," offers Todd. "Nothing is easy – you have to work hard to get what you want. You have to dedicate yourself to your work. No sacrifice, no victory!"