Artist uses cartridge casings and spent shotgun shells to create Texas images
San Antonio-based artist Matt Tumlinson is a Texan to the core. The 31-year-old’s roots are planted deep in small-town Texas soil. He grew up in the rural Brown County community of Early, playing football, running track and fishing. He enjoys the finer things in life, such as the history and culture of Texas towns and ranches, good cold beer and the satisfaction a homemade meal can provide.
Tumlinson’s style of art is what really portrays the culture of the Lone Star State that’s so deeply embedded within him. Along with composing traditional sketches and paintings, as well as murals, Tumlinson is making a name for himself by using brass ammunition cartridges as his canvas.
Brass cartridge casings are what Tumlinson uses as the canvas for most of his brass artwork. He also is working on some pieces that incorporate spent shotgun shell casings.
Tumlinson’s personality is just what you’d expect from a Texas gentleman. He’s kind, genuine, honest, works hard, takes care of his family, and he loves being a husband and a father. His artistic views on life and nature are worth hearing about, and his artwork is downright impressive.
Art has always been a mainstay at the core of Tumlinson’s life, but he didn’t realize how much weight it carried during his early years, he said.
“I’ve always had a natural ability to draw, ever since I was a youngster,” he said. “It wasn’t a skill that I originally considered trying to turn into a career-builder. It was more like a party trick.”
People would find out he could create impressive illustrations and it captivated their attention, Tumlinson said.
“At that point, art was just a hobby for me,” Tumlinson said.
While pursuing a degree in education during his college years at Texas Tech University, Tumlinson picked up some side jobs as an artist, and he also started composing cartoons for the university’s newspaper. This was his first taste of the opportunity to turn his love of art into a career, he said.
“These opportunities are really what compelled me to give art a shot,” he said.
At the end of his tenure at Texas Tech, Tumlinson moved to San Antonio to complete the requirements necessary to obtain his teaching certification. He also began working at a gun range on the side, and developed an interest in shooting sports, he said.
“Besides shooting, I also became infatuated with the outdoor opportunities that went hand in hand with being a Texan,” Tumlinson said. “From fishing, to hunting, hiking and kayaking, my love for outdoor Texas helped me discover who I was as an artist.”
This self-discovery prompted Tumlinson to make the decision to seriously pursue an art career instead of becoming a teacher like he had originally planned. He began working odd jobs while simultaneously taking on paying art gigs.
“In 2014, I took a leap of faith and became a full-time artist,” Tumlinson said. “I haven’t looked back since.”
A good part of the inspiration for his art still comes from nature and the outdoors, he said.
“Studio time is always necessary, but I’ve found that I can be much more creative when I’m out and about rather than sitting behind four walls,” he said.
For this reason, many of his artistic ideas are a product of personal outdoor experiences, he said.
“Whether it’s a hunting or fishing trip, or even just a hiking or kayaking excursion, the processes that go hand in hand with these types of adventures are what I tend to thrive on,” Tumlinson said. “I’m a big believer in taking in the whole experience and letting it mold you as a person. I just like to be out there, absorbing every little detail that nature has to offer.”
Tumlinson is represented by several galleries, including The La Jolla Gallery in La Jolla, California; The Copper Shade Tree Gallery in Round Top, Texas; and Texas Treasures Fine Art in Boerne, Texas, to name a few. www.tumlinsonart.com