Matt Haddaway

About Me

Painting Makes Me Happy :) Image
Surfing Sandbridge Image
Me & Andrezza Image
Matt’s love of the tropics was instilled in him at birth. Born in Key West, Florida, he was exposed to gentle trade winds, aquamarine water and swaying palm trees at an early age. But the island lifestyle was short-lived. The son of a Navy chief, his family soon moved to Virginia Beach and has been here ever since. Here, he may have had to give up palm trees, but he loves still being surrounded by surf and sand.

He also discovered a love of art at an early age, often impressing his teachers with his drawings, even if some of them were doodles done when he should have been paying attention. His parents enrolled him in the Old Donation School for the Gifted and Talented, where he would spend a few hours each week honing his skills. During his teenage years Matt discovered acrylics with the help of a private tutor. He has grown to love the medium and has worked exclusively with it for several years, creating wonderful blends and vibrant colors.

In the mid-90s Matt made his first trip back to Key West, and it rekindled his love affair with the tropics that naturally started showing up in his paintings. “I’ve always loved the beach and ocean, but didn’t paint them much until after going back to Key West. When I got back home, it was like something clicked in my brain. Now I can’t imagine painting anything other than the beauty of the ocean and beach environment.”

Matt’s paintings range from realism to surrealism with the common thread of the ocean environment. His realistic work often has a “you are here” perspective. They invite the viewer to sort of step inside and enjoy the view. Even when he takes a surreal approach he weaves in recognizable elements in way that bridges reality and fantasy. Details often catch Matt’s eye and an entire piece could be inspired by the movement of water in a wave or the markings in a whale’s tail.

Matt has been to several tropical locales—including the Florida keys and the aforementioned Key West, the Dominican Republic, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Brazil—gathering inspiration for his paintings. “I wish I could travel more, but when I do, the places and experiences stay with me forever giving me instant inspiration when I think about them.”

In his free time Matt also loves taking pictures. It’s something that he’s enjoyed for years. Several of his paintings were created from photographs he has taken. He even met his lovely wife thru a mutual love of the medium. “It’s truly wonderful to have a creative spouse. We often get inspired by the other’s creativity and end up seeing things in a different light than we normally would. She’s so supportive and I can honestly say that I’ve seen a great improvement in my work with her by my side.”

Of course, one of Matt’s favorite activities will always remain spending time in or near the water. He’s at the beach as often as he can. When the waves cooperate, chances are you will find him out there riding a few. “It’s so cliché to say, but it’s true. When you’re out there on the ocean riding a beautiful wave or just floating between sets, you forget about all the cares of the day. Very inspirational.”