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Art a recipe to wellness

King Street Artworks tutor Matt Hall in action painting. PHOTO/ERIN KAVANAGH-HALL

Hayley Gastmeier

Putting a pen or paintbrush to paper can take you back to being a kid and that’s what Matt Hall likes about art.

The Masterton man only tapped into his artistic creativity five years ago when he started frequenting King Street Artworks, where he is now working as a part-time tutor.

He said working there was a dream job and taking up art also helped with his mental wellbeing.

Matt is one of four local artists displaying his work as part of ‘The 4 Lads’ exhibition on show currently at King St Art.

“Our art is all sort of suited, it’s all outside the box in terms of what we do.

“None of us do the typical landscapes or birds,” Matt said.

“We all use our imagination and we all seem to like to go with the flow in terms of not having to rely on a reference – we can express ourselves.”

Matt said he also liked realism and trying to capture the essence of a person.

“I do portraits and facial stuff like eyes – there’s so much personality in the face.

“I want to capture their personhood, not just them being human. I like to represent the personess of a person, to portray their essence visually.”

He was also into surreal art and liked using various mediums, including pastels, graphite, and creating digital pieces.

Matt said he had worked in administration jobs and got the urge to be creative and that’s when he began attending King St Art.

“As soon as I found I was good at it I got really excited and really started focusing.”

His passion has now morphed into a part-time job where he is on call to help other King St Art attendees with their creative pursuits.

“It’s the best job I’ve ever had in my entire life,” he said.

“You get to be creative and help people who are struggling. I have great workmates, the artists are amazing and it’s a great community – we can be ourselves here.”

He said it was being productive and socialising all in one.

“People come here every day because they want to be here.”

The three other ‘4 Lads’ artists are Chris Fincham with his paper mache works, Chris Carew with drawings in various mediums, and Dan Real who mainly works in ink.

Dan said he began drawing 19 years ago.

“I was quite unwell and I started to do it and started to help me in a way.”

He said he frequented King St Art about five days a week.

“It’s very inclusive and I find it relaxing.”


  1. King Street Artworks is an amazing place that makes Masterton great. It’s more than a community even – it’s a family, where people help each other help themselves. And Matt is awesome. I wish the “lads” every success with their exhibition. They deserve it!

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