Mat Gleason Talks to You

Mat gleason before after

A "Before and After" picture of Mat Gleason's hair cut. Say hello to reality tv show!

Mat Gleason arrived at Cal State Fullerton for a guest talk Thursday, March 3. He founded Coagula Art Journal ( in 1992, and since then has written for other journals, including breaking the record for traffic in the art section of the Huffington Post (just check the amount of angry comments in articles). Cougular Art Journal, issues available online as well as in print, is the self proclaimed “the low down on high art online.”


Mat gleason1

A photo of Mat Gleason at the guest talk in CSUF

Known for his cutting edge opinion on what is and isn't art and his un-censorship to ambiguous topics in the art world: Stephen Kinzer of the New York Times named him “a famously provocative local art critic.” So I expected the guest talk to be a ride– and he delivered. If you are an art student and bring a painting to Mat Gleason for a critique, do not be surprised if he says your work is not art, does not raise consciousness or deeper discussion, and is shit.  Mat has even advised art students in private school, who are paying $34,000 a year, to use their tuition to throw parties. The networking they would do for their future career would have the highest potential by throwing 40 parties a year. They will meet more people in four years of parties than school, and the relationships will be more intimate.

Despite his often-negative comments about the art establishment, Mat claims he is quite positive. I think he is a philosophical, impulsive and brutally honest thinker. Guilty of not knowing Mat Gleason prior to this event, I spent some time in Youtube (watch this) and was amused by his responses. Like watching a reality TV show, he is one of those characters you are meant to hate and love at the same time. In fact he dyed his hair red for a work-in-progress reality TV show deal.  I like his commentaries because he is bringing art to a bigger audience, and people who do not live inside the art world can understand him and understand art. Ultimately, should not every artist thrive to use visual imagery to communicate beyond language barriers?


If you have met Mat Gleason in person, what do you think about his reputation compares to meeting him in real life? If you have never met him, would you want to?

What do you think about Mat Gleason's hair cut?


Photo credit: A picture screen cap from Ovation TV | Art or Not? and a photo of Mat Gleason and I; A photo of Mat Gleason at the guest talk in CSUF.

Photos by OC Art Blog

— Jennifer Cheng

One Response to “Mat Gleason Talks to You”
  1. Rpamatong says:

    i think his hair looked better before … it had this natural artsy feel … n now its kinda short and red and loud… lol … there might be some truth to his partying and networking theory … art is all about buzz and hype … word of mouth … these are things that art school cant teach you … art of networking … the art of self promotion .. the art of subliminally infecting mainstream and dictating was COOL was is NOT … my favorite hairdresser said it best …” the only one who has to understand your art … is you ”

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