By Anne Marlowe
What I thought when I first saw Matt Kotch’s monster fish paintings was, “How weird, but so fun!” Vibrant and lively, they speak to many kinds of people including the people in the custom car world, tattoos, tee-shirts, and anyone else who loves a whimsical and unusual take on a subject.
Growing up in the 1970’s in Southern California, Matt Kotch had a wide variety of things to catch his attention. But his two biggest favorites were fishing and art. Particularly, is his admiration for Ed “Big Daddy” Roth art. Big Daddy was famous for his Rat Fink™ and other colorful, twisted, monster-looking cartoon characters including Mother’s Worry™.
Matt and I talked about how Ed Roth influenced his artwork, and I remembered kids in my school collecting Ed Roth Rat Fink™ trading cards, T-shirts, and the other collectibles including model cars. I had forgotten about all of it, but that walk down memory lane was great fun! Ed Roth created quite a legacy and you can find more about him at www.ratfink.com.
I have also been in communication with Ilene Roth, the late Ed Roth’s wife. She allowed me to use these photos in this article. As I go forward, you can see the influence Ed had on Matt’s art. We also like to think “Big Daddy” would Really admire Matt’s work!
Matt mentioned that another influence in his art is a gifted artist from Alaska, Ray Troll. However, you can see immediately how Matt Kotch took these and other influences to develop his own creative and unique approach. “All artists learn from each other and incorporate pieces of what they see into their own artistic style.” Matt said.
A self-taught acrylic painter, he first learned air-brush painting and transitioned to painting with brushes.
“Acrylic dries very fast so you can be frustrated with that or learn to use it to your advantage.” Matt shared.
When I asked him how he came up with ideas to paint, he said he has thousands of drawings and pictures he has saved through the years. Then he refers back to his other favorite passion - fishing!
Matt’s work is nationally recognized and has been featured in several galleries including having his paintings displayed in the prestigious Laguna Art Museum. His work also been showcased in several magazines. More so, his work is printed in the book Eight Arms of Inspiration: The Octopus Art Project by Jinxi Caddel and Mike DeVries. Available on Amazon. And Under the Sea, A limited edition book by Jinxi and Steve Caddel.
Matt has a demanding but rewarding full-time position as a Psychiatric Technician in a Crisis Stabilization Home. This is the other amazing side about him where he helps people with behavioral disorders learn new life skills. You could not find a better and more encouraging mentor. After work, he can be found either working on his artwork or fishing around Long Beach, California. He has some favorite spots that helps stir his “artistic inspiration” including collecting rustic driftwood pieces he uses in his artwork.
To reach Matt, you can find him on Instagram: @fishpainter on Facebook: Matt Kotch-Artist or contact him directly at Mattkotch@yahoo.com or www.fishheadart.bigcartel.com