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Matt's Easter greetings from 2010
4 hours, 33 minutes ago 0
Posted in: Blog

Matt’s Easter Greetings (2010):

I believe that Easter is a great time to review who we are. Are we on the right path, the wrong path, or no path at all? Does our life really make a difference to the universe? Did we even try? Did we care? Did we give a damn? I think it’s a perfect time to agitate ourselves a little, to give ourselves a report card for the last twelve months and look forward to the next twelve months, if we’re lucky enough to have them. All of the pomp and ceremony, the joy of the birth of Christ, the despair of Good Friday, the wonderment and the doubting of Easter Saturday, and the complete euphoria of the resurrection on Easter Sunday are all part of the play. What is our personal play? Do we just go to church, hear a sermon about the life of Christ and shout “Hallelujah,” then, on the way out of church, give the guy in the next car the finger because he got out of the parking lot 10 seconds before we did? Is that our heritage, and if it is, should we change it? It’s in our power. This is how I agitate myself during this time and set my goals to where I want to be a year from now. I ask myself: Am I really doing it, or am I kidding myself on a daily basis?

Happy Easter—

Coming up:  Sheila Lamb Gabler returns for her second Q&A
1 day, 10 hours ago 0
Posted in: Blog

We’re excited about the next installment of our ongoing Q&A series. Sheila Lamb Gabler, Matt and Rose’s youngest child, is President and CEO of Matt Lamb Studios. She’s leading the charge to take Matt’s artwork and quest for peace into the future. Sheila was our first Q&A subject when we began this oral-history project two years ago. Now, she returns to update us on the latest and greatest happenings in the world of Lamb. Over the next few weeks, Sheila will be sharing the developments she’s overseeing in the international Matt Lamb organization, as well as sharing insights about her father and his legacy. Sheila’s interview begins on Monday. We know you’ll enjoy it.

Onward and upward—
Richard Speer, Blog/Facebook Editor

3 days, 6 hours ago 0
Posted in: Blog


Previously unpublished “Salt & Pepper” from Matt’s archive:

“If I knew what I was talking about, I would probably either be expelled from the country or carried around on a sedan chair!”

5 days, 11 hours ago 0
Posted in: Blog


Never-before-published “Salt & Pepper” from Matt’s archive:

“Beware the health decisions you leave to your M.D… Most of your doctors will die before you do, so you’ll be wandering the cemeteries, looking for their tombstones, when all you wanted was a refill on your prescription! I just go about my merry way, taking my vitamins, taking my medication (I think), getting all the tests… If the test says I’m pregnant, I guess somebody gave me the wrong test! Or maybe I’m taking the wrong vitamins. Hmm, I wonder when I’m going to deliver… Maybe I’ll just deliver the mail!”

From Matt's unpublished archive:  Pandora's Box
1 week, 1 day ago 0
Posted in: Blog

From Matt’s unpublished archive:

“What happens when Pandora’s Box is opened? I’m very much for Pandora and the box! It always intrigued me. I think that mystery, the delving into the unknown—not only outside, but within ourselves—is the essence of life, of adventure, discovery, and whether we really and truly like what we discovered. To me, Pandora’s Box is the great adventure of life, the excitement of investigation into things we really don’t know anything about, but are curious about. That’s the spice and the essence of the human experience.”

1 week, 3 days ago 0
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From Matt’s unpublished archive:

“This world is the world of of ‘Hurray for me and to hell with everyone else!’ Do I despair? No. Why? Because I’m an idiot!”

Matt's birthday
1 week, 5 days ago 0
Posted in: Blog

Monday, April 7, is Matt’s birthday. He would have been 82 years old. Matt loved birthdays, but then, he loved every day. As he said on more than one occasion, “If I had any more fun, my arms and legs would fall off!”

As we remember Matt, celebrate his artwork, and carry on his mission of peace, we invite you to share your thoughts with us: What does Matt Lamb mean to you?

2 weeks, 2 days ago 0
Posted in: Blog


From Matt’s unpublished archive:

“I truly believe that the universe is an insane asylum! Everyone looks down at us from the other dimension, and it’s like they’re watching Comedy Central!”

2 weeks, 4 days ago 0
Posted in: Blog


From Matt’s unpublished archive:

“On my blog, someone asked me why I thought people have such a hard time learning from their mistakes. I think it’s because it’s impossible to think that one can make a mistake. ‘Ah, the whole world must be mistaken, but not me! I’m infallible! I can make no mistakes. Everything I do is the absolutely correct thing to do!’ Well, guess what? That’s why the world is so fucked up!”

Jonathan Daudell -- complete interview
2 weeks, 6 days ago 0
Posted in: Blog

Complete text of Richard Speer’s interview with Jonathan Daudell, Executive Director of Matt Lamb Studios, Spring 2014

Richard Speer: Can you tell us a bit about what you do as executive director of Matt Lamb Studios?

Jonathan Daudell: Sure. Sheila travels so much—whether it be the Middle East, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, and within the U.S.—that one of the primary things more recently I’ve been doing is filling in for her when I can in the Chicago area: seeing buildings, meeting people, taking people to Wisconsin to show them art… I’ll travel sometimes too, but for the most part I stay here in Chicago and hold down the fort while Sheila is traveling. I run different aspects of communications and do project management. So if she’s in Spain, for example, I can be here putting together any inventory spreadsheets she needs or pictures of the artwork, pretty much at a moment’s notice. So it’s a support role to her and a separate role here keeping things running as usual.

Richard Speer: When did you first meet Matt?

Jonathan Daudell: I met him when I was a child, but I don’t remember when exactly. My brother Stephen is the same age as Rose [Rose Lamb Gabler]. When he was in second grade he made his first Holy Communion at St. Linus Catholic School. Matt had a special event put together for Rose’s first Holy Communion at Holy Name Cathedral, and he invited my cousin, Nick McNally, and my brother to that, too. So I probably met Matt when I was anywhere between 11 and 13, just passing saying hello. But then re-meeting him was when I first started helping out Sheila right after I graduated college in November of 2008. I met him at the studio at Sangamon. He was there with his music on and Wojtek running around… He was working on one of those huge hanging pieces. I remember I asked him about those pieces and how he worked on them. At the time, as a non-painter, I couldn’t comprehend how he could work on something so large and still keep it in perspective. I asked him whether he worked on it lying down or from above or some other way. He took me through the studio and explained everything. That was the first time I grasped a sliver of the scope of what he did as an artist. Before that, I thought he was just a guy in a room with an easel. It was only when I stepped into that room at Sangamon that I actually began to grasp what he was doing. I was surprised how open he was with everything: showing me his paintings and how he did everything… I’d always had this impression that artists were holed up somewhere, not open to talking about the process. But Matt was so welcoming. At that time, too, I didn’t fully grasp his process, with him working on 60 or more pieces at once. It was absolutely overwhelming to see that amount of artwork. There were pieces drying, hanging, stacked up after being photographed… You look at that, and your head’s just swimming with these wild colors and the fumes and the sheer amount of it! When I started out moving artwork for Matt, I was thinking, I’m going to carry one painting at a time… Both he and Wojtek made it clear that you get as many of the same size as you can, and carry as many of them as you can! I was thrown into this whole world of art as created and performed by Matt Lamb, and it was very different from these preconceived notions I’d had of what artists do in their studio and personal spaces. From the get-go, Matt was very clear and made a point to explain everything and point out when you were doing something wrong. Over time, my perceptions evolved, but I continued to see what an interesting guy he was and how his art and his message fit together…

Richard Speer: What was it like seeing Matt interact with children in the Umbrellas for Peace programs?

Jonathan Daudell: I was involved in Umbrellas for Peace in different stages. There were a couple times where I drove Matt to the events, and I’d be there with him and Sheila as he was speaking to the teachers and the students. He’d lead an assembly either inside or outdoors and do a parade either that day or the next day. Being in those school offices and art rooms and speaking to the teachers and principals, seeing how excited they were about the programs—before that, I could never have grasped the impact and scope of it… He lit up around the kids, and likewise, they lit up around him. You’d see these kids in a middle school, for instance, and they’d all be lined up, and all of a sudden, Matt got up there with his umbrella and his wild coat and glasses, and there was this energy and this exchange, this positive energy that was so evident—not only did he exude this radiance, but the kids, too, gave it right back to him! That was really cool and amazing to see.

Richard Speer: Can you tell us a little bit about the Matt Lamb operation worldwide?

Jonathan Daudell: It’s still headquartered here in Chicago, but the Umbrellas for Peace are going on everywhere. Jerry and Debbie (Gerard and Deborah Vanderschoot) have been spearheading that. Sebastian Benedetti has the Matt Lamb Museum in Argentina, and they’ve done art shows and Umbrellas for Peace down there. And then there is the German Matt Lamb Society, which periodically sends us really thorough schedules of events for Sheila to approve. The amount of things that they put together is just incredible. They’ll do an art show one week and a Matt Lamb Children’s Hospital the next, which recently opened, and a show in one of the prisons… The amount of involvement they have in Berlin and the surrounding area is so impressive. In Germany and parts of Spain, they’ve taken these ideas and run with them on their own, continuing to spread Matt’s message… In Ireland, Fergus O’Mahony is still doing a lot of things. Last summer the Irish Tourism Board did a big summer-long festival, and to coincide with that, Fergus did some major events. There are things going on in Slovakia, where Matt’s artwork has been received very favorably and they’re becoming more exposed to the work and the literature about it. Also, in November 2012 we did a big show in Dubai. People are really interested in his work and the Umbrellas for Peace in the Middle East, Asia, and all over the world.

Richard Speer: What is it like to work with Sheila Lamb Gabler, Matt’s daughter and the President/CEO of Matt Lamb Studios?

Jonathan Daudell: Much like her father, Sheila has this can-do, will-do, “I’ll rest when I’m in the grave” attitude. She works day and night. Obviously, she gets some sleep every once in awhile, but she has her priorities set out in front of her, and if she needs to get something done, she’ll get it done. For me personally, Sheila is absolutely a pleasure to work with. There’s a trust in the relationship. Everything that’s happened since Matt’s death—I don’t think anyone imagined what that would mean in terms of his artwork, his property, his estate, the fact that she is responsible for his whole legacy—is something that I couldn’t imagine ever having on my shoulders. Sheila truly is her father’s daughter. She’ll say things that Matt would have said in dealing with people. She worked with him for years and years and years. It’s nice having that continuity.

Richard Speer: You were exposed to Matt as an artist, a peacemaker, and a human being. What can you tell me about him in each of those roles?

Jonathan Daudell: As you asked me that question, I had all these words jumping through my mind! But there isn’t one word that can sum him up. He was all of those things and more. For myself, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with him as a person. I drove him to a few of his doctor’s appointments, got stuck in traffic with him, talked to him about a lot of different things. I was impressed by his willingness to engage anyone, whether it be myself or a doorman or somebody in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. No matter what he had become as an artist or businessman or peacemaker, he was still always Matt Lamb, the guy you could talk to about anything: technology, current events, what was going on in China, history, the documentaries he watched… It wasn’t always about the art world. It was amazing that he was this larger-than-life figure, but he was able to also be very approachable.

Richard Speer: You’ve curated shows of Matt’s around the country and the world and have looked at so much of his artwork. How would you describe his artwork to people who have never laid eyes on it in person?

Jonathan Daudell: The first word that comes to mind is bold, whether it be the colors, the brushstrokes, the texture, the movement, everything going on. Even his more subdued paintings, with the earth tones and the dark, dark blues, still have this larger-than-life characteristic. Wojtek and I were talking about this the last time we were up in Wisconsin looking through the art… The more you’re exposed to Matt’s artwork, the more your perceptions of it change over time. It’s bold—it’s colorful—it’s very textured, with a lot of movement, whether it is chunky applications of paint from “the Dip” or sweeping brushstrokes. A lot of people have this perception of art as something that very flat, hanging in a museum wall that you have to stand five feet back from, to even get a sense of it. Matt’s work is so different from that. It’s so immediate. It’s very different from what people typically think art is.

Richard Speer: How would you summarize Matt’s message?

Jonathan Daudell: His message itself—peace, tolerance, understanding, hope, and love—was broad and idealistic, but Matt himself was pretty realistic in saying that this had to happen one person at a time, on the individual level, before there could be large-scale changes toward peace. One kid with an umbrella could inspire people on the playground, in their neighborhood, their family back home… Matt’s message is meant for everybody, but he realized it’s not some big magic trick where you can just say, “Everybody needs to be peaceful,” and it will happen. There are terrible things going on in the world—things as far from peace as you could get—but in every community, every nation, there are individuals who are willing to make a change and accept Matt’s message: We may not be able to snap our fingers and change the world overnight, but we can try. We’ve got to start somewhere. There was an ongoing and genuine openness about Matt, which he applied to everybody he came in contact with. He had traveled all over the world, interacting with people of various religions. He really did see that people aren’t as different from one another as some would like to believe. He worked hard all his life and made a good living for himself, but he considered everyone to be children of God, children of the universe, who should be viewed equally. He did a lot to make sure that others were given a fighting chance. There was an acceptance of all races, creeds, and religions. That’s who he was.