This month’s featured artist is a practicing artist, master framer, and educator in the community. Art has been a constant in Steven Matthews’ life from a young age, and he credits a very supportive family for fostering that love of creating. Matthews says that passion for creating “has been the only time I truly feel connected with my inner compass, granting me the ability to allow that inner voice to guide my artistic vision”.

Matthews’ formal art training began at Allegany College, continued to Frostburg State before culminating at The Maryland Institute College of Art, where he received a Master of Fine Arts. He drew inspiration from daily life, friends, family, and the many fine artists and colleagues he met along the way.

For the past ten years, Matthews has taught at his Alma Mater, Frostburg State University, where he is pleased to give back to an institution he fondly credits with much of his background in the arts. “Having been on the other side as a student at FSU it gives me much pleasure to be part of the creative process from the instructor role and to foster the creative process and watch it develop from inception to fruition.” In becoming an instructor, Matthews has found that much of his creative process has transformed into a mentor-role, where he enjoys helping to guide students to their potential. He says “It isn’t a one sided relationship as I too benefit from the immersion amongst many talented artists”.

The artist’s own work is primarily printmaking, though he enjoys painting as well. He focuses on linocuts as he likes to “exploit opposites and create visual tension within the concept for drama”. A linocut is a block-print in which the artist inverses their design and carves it into a linoleum block – much like a large hand carved stamp. Prints made from stamp-like blocks where the ink sits on top are known as relief prints. The carving process of linocut allows the piece to transform from the initial drawing. The carving style can add a layer to the manner in which the piece is translated, and the work can adapt and change as the carving evolves.

Matthews also confesses a new-found love of the collograph print. Collographs are a form of intaglio printmaking, the exact opposite of relief prints, in which the design that is printed is formed from ink that sits below the surface of the block. Collograph prints are pulled from blocks built from various textured materials in a form of collage that is then covered in ink. He explains his new love of the collograph by saying, “There is a sense of expressive freedom and painterly abandon as the viscous ink stains the surface much like a brush stroke and individually characterizes each and every print.”

Locally and internationally, Matthews has received many honors and awards. These include multiple awards in Allegany County and Somerset County Arts Council Members Shows as well as community art events. He served as 2012 Juror for Somerset County’s Annual Members Exhibition. Matthews’ work has been included in the International Footprint Exhibition organized by the Center for Contemporary Printmaking several years in a row.

Matthews has been a lifelong resident of Western Maryland. He grew up at Deep Creek Lake, and he now resides in Westernport. In addition to teaching, Matthews has worked as a custom picture framer for the past 28 years. He will offer a workshop to fellow area artists focused on framing in collaboration with the Garrett County Arts Council that is slated to happen in summer 2019.

Recently, Matthews continued his artistic journey by opening his own shop Gallery 301 to focus on framing and also showcase artwork. It is located at 301 Greene Street, Cumberland, MD. His work can be viewed at Gallery 301 and often in many exhibitions throughout the region.

Matthews’ prints are also found at GCAC’s Gallery Shop, 108 S. Second St, in downtown Oakland. The Garrett County Arts Council is funded by the Maryland State Arts Council, Garrett County Government, and through membership support. For more information or to become a member, contact GCAC at 301-334-6580, visit, and like Garrett County Arts Council and The Gallery Shop on Facebook.