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Ideas + Technique = Falling in Love With Painting

Brief Q & A with Associate Professor Mathew Zefeldt
May 26, 2020

               “Can you bring a new subject matter to the world of painting?”

The Department of Art is pleased to congratulate Mathew Zefeldt on the promotion to associate professor with tenure. An artist and educator, Mathew has been in the Department since 2012, gained a tenure track position in 2014. His rigorous commitment to art making can be seen on his website: While his support of students is exemplified in his courses such as ARTS 1102: Introduction to Painting, where he strives to create a positive learning environment.

We caught-up with Mathew to talk about teaching, learning, and memorable quotes. 

Q.  How do you approach teaching?
A. My approach to teaching has developed through experience, from mentors like Clarence Morgan and memorable teachers such as Annabeth Rosen of UC Davis Art Studio. I approach students with an open mind and openness to see what their interests are. It’s important in painting to teach a balance of technique and contemporary practices and ideas. 

Q. What do you hope students take away from your classes? 
A. I hope students feel confident in exploring ideas. Finding out what does their contemporary existence look like. I ask them, “Can you bring a new subject matter to the world of painting?” 

Q. Who is your most memorable teacher & why?
A. Well, I’ve had several memorable teachers, but Annabeth Rosen of UC Davis Art Studio is the most memorable. She wore her heart on her sleeve. She has an honest approach to critiques, a strong commitment to her own art-making, and a powerful work ethic that she passes down to her students. I hope I also pass along this work ethic--the commitment to [making art] grinding down the hours.

Q. Do you have a favorite quote or song lyric?
A. My favorite lyric is: “Complicated mammals on the wings of robots” from the Julian Casablancas song 11thDimension. There’s something about it that tells of this time.

Q. What are you teaching in the fall? What do you enjoy about this teaching opportunity?
A. ARTS 1102: Intro to Painting (two sections). I really enjoy Intro to Painting, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to encourage students to explore color and mark-making. Students' eyes light-up and I can see them falling in love with the medium.

Thank you Mathew for your time and congratulations again!