Matthew Schwartz , aka Spadecaller, was born November 7, 1950. His talents for the arts revealed themselves early in life. At age seven, his teachers recommended enrollment in a school for gifted children. Despite his mother’s devotion and support, his father vehemently objected. Unbeknownst to the young artist, his paternal Grandfather was a muralist who had committed suicide during the Great Depression, when his father was still a boy. Matthew was unable to understand his father’s strong opposition to his interest in art until years later. Without his father’s consent, his mother surreptitiously devoted herself to helping him develop his artistic abilities. Under the direction of a local artist, he conspicuously took traditional oil painting lessons, attended art shows, and visited museums in Manhattan.
At the height of the Vietnam War (1968), Matthew graduated South Side Senior High School in Rockville Centre and begrudgingly attended Rider College in New Jersey. Sacrificing his heart’s desire, he bowed to the demands of his father. A rebellious artist at a conservative school during the protest era set the stage for conflict. During his second year at the school, the literary magazine was censored for anti-war articles. Contributing artwork to the censored publication drew the young artists into controversy with the school and powerful supporters of the war. Failing to meet the academic requirements, Matthew dropped out in the fourth semester. Backed by the support of his mother, who had established a greater sense of independence and equality in her marriage, Matthew enrolled in the School of Visual Arts (1970- 1971). During this period of time, his acrylic paintings focused on themes that depicted the inhumanity of war, political oppression, and the emancipation of the individual living in a militaristic nation.
Due to his conflict with the draft board, the government, and his growing trouble with alcohol and other drugs, the young artist fled the states to live in Montreal following a series of clashes with government authorities. Abandoning his love of art, nine long years of addiction ensued. Seeking help in 1978, Matthew put down the booze and drugs. Living above a bar in Mineola -New York, the twenty-seven year old artist came to realize that the greatest enemy that he needed to face was within. Following a rigorous effort to recover his life, he returned to his artwork and put on an exhibition in his hometown, Rockville Centre (1984). To his astonishment, his father attended the exhibit and their years of conflict finally came to a meaningful close.
Matthew was born into a Jewish family and though educated into the religion, his strong ties have always remained to his heritage - not the dogma of organized religion. As the Grandson of a holocaust survivor, the impact of growing up in a Jewish family, and his own experiences with the world continue to generate inspiration. From his personal experiences with bigotry and censorship, Schwartz’s art not only honors the memory of the holocaust, it painstakingly celebrates the emancipation of the oppressed living today.
Spadecaller (Matthew Schwartz) is the pseudonym he uses for his online galleries, writing, poetry, and video creations; the name came about by his direct approach on subjects that often focus on current and heated issues in the news today. "True artists never bow to trend or the demands forced upon them by politics and ideology. I will not apologize for or defer from creating art that is faithful to my personal vision of the world. The idea that artists need to hide from the world in order to create beauty is also repugnant to me. Truth is beauty; even when it is sad or disturbing. We live in an intrusive society; and must wake up to this fact or fall victim to its control." His writing, videos, and artwork “call a spade a spade." Through a vast library of video creations, he showcases his digital paintings, poetry, and photography on Youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Thespadecaller.
During the past decade, Spadecaller has focused much of his work on fusing photography and digitally hand painted imagery to create an art form that he believes is “worthy of the same distinction traditional painters deserve.” His reverence for nature and devotion to spirituality are reflected in his portraits, wildlife, floral creations. and his dramatic works that boldly depict the bondage, despair, and the hope humanity seeks. Spadecaller is the frequent recipient of awards and special recognition by his colleagues.
Links to Spadecaller's Visual Arts