Matt Sesow
Biography | New Artwork
Born in 1966, Matt Sesow was raised in rural Nebraska while enjoying a normal childhood.  On a summer evening when he was eight at an airfield near his home, he was struck by the propeller of a landing airplane.  The accident resulted in his left arm being severed and the loss of his left hand.  Through the support of his family, Matt’s physical disability was minimized as he was encouraged to participate in a variety of academic and organized sporting events.   Eventually he attended and graduated from University with a degree in Computer Information Systems and a professional career with IBM as a software tester.

Without formal art education, Matt Sesow discovered painting as a hobby while working at IBM.   In the evenings and on weekends he played with painting and began selling his work to Self-Taught and Outsider art collectors in 1995.  Throughout the 1990’s he continued to paint and participate in art exhibitions while working full-time at variety of computer firms including AOL and Netscape.   Returning from a stint with the Peace Corps (Solomon Islands) in 1999, Matt began to focus on his love of painting and developing a path to create art full-time.

In 2001, after establishing himself within the art community as a powerfully diverse and independent painter, Matt Sesow retired from his computer career to pursue his art full-time.  With the ability to focus entirely on his painting, Sesow exhibited and traveled across the United States while also securing new collectors internationally including  exhibitions in Spain, France, and Slovenia.

Currently living and painting in Washington, DC, Matt continues to be an independent artist who makes a living by selling his work directly to fans and from a variety of galleries and exhibitions world-wide.

matt sesow new painting matt sesow new painting
Painting is something I do everyday and it is what I intend to do for the rest of my life.  Painting has healed me.  I found painting at the age of 28 after moving to Washington, DC as a cure to the emotional pain I felt from losing my left hand as a child, after being hit by the propeller of a landing airplane in 1975.

I am fortunate that people are willing to look at and buy my paintings.  Because of that, painting is what I do now for my career.  It is the sole source of my income.

My paintings are the emotional response to a traumatic past, the road to healing, and the confidence of finding a new language to express feelings felt but never shared.  While some people see my paintings as angry or aggressive, many of my collectors and fans (including myself), see my work as hopeful, joyous, and eager to take on the world!

My sharp lines, bold colours, and a willingness to share hidden emotions through my art has gained me a huge following in the art world.  My work started to sell in 1996 and since then I estimate that I have sold over 8,000 unique paintings to collectors around the world.

Most of my paintings include the “icons” I’ve invented to help the viewer decipher the meaning of my work.  Icons such as “trauma scars”, “trauma cups”, “bunnies”, “one-winged rising phoenixes”, and “guardian angels” are just a few of the clues or messages I use in each painting to help tell my story.  My icons mark the time when the painting was created as well, they are an “emotional checkup” to myself, showing where I’m at, and when I look back at old paintings, where I’ve been.

I’ve had 6 solo exhibitions in Europe and was the first American representative at the 42nd annual meeting of Naive Artists in Trebjne, Slovenia in 2009.  For many of the people I met at the conference in Slovenia it was their first exposure to an American, let alone a Washington, DC artist ambassador.  My third solo exhibition in Barcelona, Spain was in April of 2013.  

My future in the arts looks bright.  With the soon to be internationally released stamps from the United Nations and my solo exhibition in France for 2014, the opportunity for me to connect with the world through my art will be unparalleled and unique.  Bringing those experiences back to Washington, DC in order to share with other artists and interested residents is an exciting opportunity that I look forward to.

2017 Solo exhibition at Silo 118 Gallery; Santa Barbara, CA
2017 Solo at Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery (Sanford, Florida)
2017 Two-person show at Gallery 50 (Rehoboth, DE)
2017 Solo Exhibition (continues), "Matt Sesow: Shock and Awe" at the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore
2016 Solo Exhibition, "Matt Sesow: Shock and Awe" at the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore (thru Spring 2017)
2016 Solo Exhibition in Vancouver, Canada with Gallery 1515
2016 Solo Exhibition at Access Gallery in Denver, Colorado
2015 Solo Barcelona Spain with Artevistas Gallery
2014 FOE gallery Northampton, MA
2014 Solo, Cruseilles France, Gallery 555
2014 Solo Provincetown, MA, AMP gallery
2014 Solo Denver, CO, Access Gallery
2014 Solo Gold Coast Australia, all american boy
2014 Group Show, 'A Tribute to Michael Jackson's 10 Best Film Clips, 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace, QLD, Australia
2013 Two Person Show, ‘Take No Prisoners’, AMP Gallery, Provincetown, MA, USA
2013 Two Person Show, ‘Bar Crawl’, Adah Rose Gallery, Kensington, MD, USA
2013 Solo Show, ‘Beautiful people’, Waverley Street Gallery, Bethesda, MD, USA
2013 Two Person Show, ‘Defiled’, UMass, Boston, MA, USA
2013 Two Person Show, ‘Domesticated’, Art Enables, Washington, DC, USA
2013 Solo Show, ‘Icons’, Galleria Artevistas, Barcelona, SPAIN
2012 Group Show, ‘Messages from Outsiderdom’, Joan Hisaoka Gallery, Washington, DC, USA
2012 Solo Show, ‘Trickle Down’, Access Gallery, Denver, CO, USA
2012 Two Person Show, ‘Stocking the Fridge’, Fridge Gallery, Washington, DC, USA
2012 Two Person Show, ‘See Something, Say Something’, Montpelier Arts Center, Laurel, MD, USA
2012 Solo Show, ‘From the Gut’, Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery, Sanford, FL, USA
2012 Solo Show, ‘Birdhouses’, BVP Dupont Circle, Washington, DC, USA
2012 Two Person Show, ‘Birds and Bees’, Adah Rose Gallery, Kensington, MD, USA
2011 Two Person Show (with Dana Ellyn), ‘Dystopia’, Dunes, Washington, DC, USA
2011 Two Person Show, Flash Gallery, Barcelona, SPAIN
2011 Solo Show, Foe Gallery, Northampton, MA, USA
2011 Solo Show, Galleria Saint-Pierre, Limoges, FRANCE
2010 Solo Show, ‘Pet Project’, VSA Access Gallery, Denver, CO, USA
2010 Solo Show, Black Rock Gallery, Bridgeport, CT, USA
2010 Group Show, Foresight Art Gallery, Amman, JORDAN
2010 Solo Show, ‘Sesow in Albi’, Galleria Artevistas, Albi, FRANCE
2010 Wedding and Show, ‘Til Death Do Us Part’, (with Dana Ellyn), Longview Gallery, Washington, DC, USA
2009 Group Show, Gaga Outsider Art, New York City, NY, USA
2009 Solo Show, ‘1st Annual Bukowski Show’, Los Angeles, CA, USA
2009 Group Show, ‘outsider Art Show’, Ann Street Gallery, Newburgh, NY, USA
2009 Solo Show, ‘Sesow in Barcelona’, Artevistas Gallery, Barcelona, SPAIN
2008 Two Person Show, ‘Under the Influence’, Aroma, Washington, DC, USA
2008 Group Show, ‘Uncommon Vision’, PFAC, Newport News, VA, USA
2008 Show, ‘Uncommon Power’, Baron and Ellin Gordon Galleries, ODU, Norfolk, VA, USA
2008 Group Show, Alcove Gallery, Atlanta, GA, USA
2008 Show, ‘Made In China’, Longview gallery, Washington, DC, USA
2007 Group Show, ‘Art in Heat’, Warehouse Gallery, Washington, DC, USA
2007 Group Show, “Outsider Art in the Hamptons’, Galeria BelAge, Westhampton Beach, NY, USA
2007 Group Show, Gaga Arts Center, New York City, NY, USA
2007 Solo Show, ‘Salvaged’, D Gallery, San Diego, CA, USA
2007 Solo Show, Rougette Gallery, Rockland, ME, USA
2007 Solo Show, Pamela Skinner/Gwenna Howard Contemporary Art, Sacramento, CA, USA
2007 Group Show, Van Der Plas Gallery, New York City, NY, USA
2007 Two Person Show (with J Coleman), ‘Double Headed Monster’, Nozoku Gallery, Atlanta, GA, USA
2007 Two Person Show, ‘Pax Attack’, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA
2007 Solo Show, ‘Animal Farm’, VSA Colorado, Denver, CO, USA
2006 Group Show, ‘The Faces of Folk’, Hurn Museum, Savannah, GA, USA
2006 Group Show, Pamela Skinner/Gwenna Howard Contemporary Art, Sacramento, CA, USA
2006 Two Person Show (with Dana Ellyn), ‘Driven’, Gallery Neptune, Bethesda, MD, USA 
2006 Two Person Show (with Justin Kaufman), Alcove Gallery, Atlanta, GA, USA
2006 Two Person Show, ‘Soul Mining’, Gallery One Eight, Washington, DC, USA 
2006 Solo Show, ‘Carrots and Sticks’, Rebus Works, Raleigh, NC, USA
2005 Solo Show, Guillotine Gallery, Atlanta, GA, USA
2005 Solo Show, Ramscale Gallery, West Village, New York City, NY, USA

2017 Selected for three week artist residency with the The Squire Foundation ; Santa Barbara, CA
2017 Twenty six paintings selected for permanent collection at the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore
2015 Painting released on UN stamp, press release at
2015 Documentary, "Join Hands" about the life and paintings of Matt Sesow:
2013 Selected by the UN (United Nations) to be featured in their postal stamp program as a disabled artist.
2009 Represented the United States at the 42nd annual meeting of naive artists in Slovenia
2008 “Bukowski Undigested” book illustrated by Matt Sesow
2006 Appeared in feature article in DC style magazine
2006 Curated and created paintings from  DC Street Banners for ‘Banners from the Fringe’ (Washington, DC)
2006 Painting onstage during performance of Giovanni at Raleigh, NC opera house
2005 February: Painted in Buenos Aires, Argentina
2005 October: "Collateral Damage",(Phoenix,AZ)10 plays written/performed inspired by an 8’x9’ Sesow painting
2004 Returning guest artist at Kentuck Festival, Tuscaloosa, AL
2003 October: guest artist at Kentuck Festival (folk art festival in Tuscaloosa, AL).
2003 September: "Best artist" award at 25th annual Adams Morgan festival.
2003 August: Painted set for Hollywood play (f* Wasps); several large paintings used in the performance.
2003 July: conceived and began "31 days in July" project.
2003 June: selected by jury for first artist residency in Costa Rica; painted using oils and acrylics.
2002 February: lived for one month in Sofia, Bulgaria (“GEEKCORPS” volunteer); painted using acrylics.
2001 First solo show at Corcoran Museum (White Walls) in Washington, DC: 45 works on display
2000 Moved into painting studio in DC. Began painting at feverish pace and working full-time as an artist.
1999 Interview in Brutarian Magazine
1998 Travelled to the Solomon Islands as a Peace Corps volunteer; painted using acrylics and oils.
1997 Travelled to and painted in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore
1996 First group exhibition at 'State of the Union' gallery in Washington, DC.
1996 Lectured at University on painting and film. Short film 'The Box' wins 'Best Experimental Film Award'
1995 Sold 14 paintings in one afternoon on streets of Georgetown; first time paintings by seen in public
1994 Short films shown at WPA group exhibition and selected for DC Psychtronic Film Society exhibition.
1994 First short film, 'Seize the Day', completed
1993 Began painting in oils; painting on weekends and evenings; works inspired by childhood trauma.
1993 First short film, 'Seize the Day', completed
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Articles and Press
Washington Post, 2016 East Coast Snowboarding Magazine, 2009 DC Style Magazine, 2006 1995 THRU 2010 PRESS
Available Sesow Paintings
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Sample Paintings