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Gallery show is a first for Berkley business and Clawson artist

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published October 7, 2015

 Brittney Mattson, of Clawson, stands with her painting titled “Tulips 1.” She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Western Michigan University and is currently taking classes at Oakland University to earn her art education degree.

Brittney Mattson, of Clawson, stands with her painting titled “Tulips 1.” She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Western Michigan University and is currently taking classes at Oakland University to earn her art education degree.

Photo by Donna Agusti

BERKLEY — Even in the third grade, Clawson resident Brittney Mattson could tell that art would be a part of her future.

A painting she had done in art class was entered into a show of work from all elementary grade levels, and that proved to be just the beginning of her foray into the art world.

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Western Michigan University and an art education degree from Oakland University in progress, Mattson was selected to exhibit her work as the first gallery show at Berkley-based Articipate. The show is Mattson’s first solo show outside of school.

“I enjoy the process of painting,” Mattson, 24, said. “Sometimes it is hard to get into the kind of mindset where you are completely focused on painting, but when you get there, it feels good to focus on one thing and see it coming about, and even your frustrations with it are OK. When you finally work past them, it feels really good.”

Articipate, located at 3833 12 Mile Road in Berkley, was started about two years ago by Debby Kobayashi to be a workspace for local artists. While she offers classes and materials for those who want them, she also opens her space for artists who just want a creative place to work on their own projects.

Kobayashi said that creating a gallery show where artists can exhibit their work seemed like the next step to give local artists the opportunity to have their work noticed.

“Art is a visual communication, and self-expression is really important in the whole artistic process,” she said. “If you don’t have an audience, then that self-expression gets lost, and I want to make sure people who make art have the chance to interact with an audience, and Articipate seems like a great place to do that.”

While Kobayashi was working on putting together a gallery show, she said the timing was perfect, as Mattson was looking for a place to show her work.

Seeing Mattson’s courage to be Articipate’s first show and her first solo show, Kobayashi said, was inspiring, The show, which opened in mid-September and runs through Oct. 16, has been well-received, she said.

“A lot of people come to see her work and admire it, as her work is quite vibrant,” Kobayashi said. “I like her abstract work, as I think they aren’t so intimidating to people. People can view them and think maybe they could be an artist too.”

The show is titled “Annuals and Abstracts.” Most of her work is acrylic paint on canvas, though she has completed a few mixed-media pieces as well, and she even made the frames for her work.

While Mattson has dabbled in several mediums and enjoys working in each one, she said that painting has been her primary medium and, depending on where the inspiration comes from, she enjoys getting lost in her work.

“I like to simplify the things I work with, and I use different subject matters, but they are very loose and almost all of them are abstract to an extent,” she said. “One piece I made, I worked off a dirty napkin for inspiration and used that as my starting point, and other times I just start working with different colors and start from there.

“If I’m stuck, something abstract is something I like to do because it is composition in its purest form, with shapes and colors.”

While Mattson has taken the time to focus on her own work, she is hoping in the near future that she will be able to help a new generation of artists. After completing her second bachelor’s degree in art education, she hopes to teach elementary school art.

Having a solo show like the one at Articipate will help her develop as an artist and benefit her future students.

“I put a lot of work into the pieces, and it makes it feel that much better,” she said. “It is difficult to get here at a solo show, as it can be hard to find places to show your work. But just having people see my work is what I am most excited about.”

Mattson’s work will be on display during Articipate business hours 12:30-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. A closing reception will be held 6-8 p.m. Oct. 16.

For more information about Articipate, visit