Matthew Naftzger was born in 1972 in Ohio, growing up primarily in the plains of Colorado. He studied engineering and fine art at Colorado State University. Frustrated with the education system after a year and a half of school, he became primarily self-taught.
Matthew started showing his metalwork at art festivals under the business name “Works of Man” in 2000, and went full time the year after. Currently he does approximately a dozen fine art/fine craft shows a year around the country, winning the occasional award. Pieces have been shown with Steidel Fine Art (Texas/London) Wax Gallery (Pittsburgh PA), Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery (Pittsburgh, PA), Xanadu Gallery (Scottsdale), J Go Gallery (Park City), SOFA Chicago.
His work has moved away from traditional materials and aesthetics, becoming more worn and industrial. Titanium is the predominant material, involving machining and TIG welding alongside traditional metalsmithing methods. Precious metals and stones, occasional found objects, and other alternate materials complete the work. Primitive mechanics and a sense of lost history drive the functionality and aesthetics.
Matthew relocated to the Northside of Pittsburgh in 2013, after many other country-wide moves. Luckily, his wife Brianna Martray came with him.
Obscure purpose, lost history. Finding an ancient machine part on a deserted beach is my kind of spiritual moment.
I picture my creations similarly being found by an yet-unknown culture in an uncertain future. Artifacts found and re-purposed; objects having their own evolution, including dead-ends, mistakes and miscalculations. The pieces may be functional in a Rube Goldberg-esque fashion… or purely dys-functional. A bit of fiction within the function, and function within the fiction.