Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt




March 2, 2018


Art: Matthew Grabelsky

“This image, and the album title, indicate to me that as a species we have the ability to create a very benign paradise on this planet. We all know what to do, and it's baffling and heartbreaking that given the ability to create paradise we instead create and sustain hell. Here's what we need to do: stop using petroleum products, stop using animals for food, stop the egregious overuse of anti-biotics, stop blaming and victimizing minorities, stop cutting down the rainforests, stop pouring plastics into our oceans, stop eating food that kills us, stop subsidizing industries that destroy the environment. There's more, but these seem like some of the worst offenders. Oh, and stop voting for racist narcissists.” — Moby

Original Artwork

"Bedford" by Matthew Grabelsky

“I painted this commissioned piece for [Moby]. I’ve loved his music for a long time and it was very cool to connect over art. He saw the painting of bulls reading The Story of Ferdinand that I painted for my grandmother and asked if I would do another piece featuring this book. Ferdinand was one of my favorites when I was a kid and my parents read it to me all the time. It’s about a bull who doesn’t want to fight, he only wants to lie under a tree and smell the flowers. As an artist, it speaks to me about the pursuit of beauty. If you look closely the dad is wearing a flower print tie and a flower lapel pin and the advertisement on the wall is for the New York Botanical Garden. I put in the boy’s outer space shirt as a reference to Moby’s song We Are All Made Of Stars which happened to be released the year I graduated from college with a degree in astrophysics.” — Matthew Grabelsky‍

"Like A Motherless Child" by Moby


Director: Rob Gordon Bralver 

Cinematographer: Nathan Haugaard

Matthew Grabelsky

“Los Angeles-based artist Matthew Grabelsky combines a hyperrealistic painting technique with a surreal penchant for unlikely juxtapositions. Raised in New York City, Grabelsky uses its subway’s underground world as the setting for his unlikely pairings.

Grabelsky’s works depict couples on subways, often nonchalantly reading magazines or newspapers, but the male figures in these dyads are strange, quasi-mythological human hybrids with animal heads. Deer, bears, elephants, tigers, and everything in between, make a suited appearance in rush hour. By contrasting the platitudes of the day-to-day with the presence of the extraordinary and unlikely, Grabelsky stages the unexpected within the most unassuming of circumstances.

The appearance of the animal head feels distantly totemic, an archetype for something primordial, ancient, and psychologically motivated. Fascinated by the persistence of animal imagery in mythology and communal cultural imaginaries, Grabelsky superimposes its presence onto his depictions of the contemporary world. For the artist, the animal becomes a manifestation of the inner workings of the hidden subconscious, literally revealing the latent identities and motivations lurking beyond the composure of the human mask.

Technically inspired by 19th Century academic and naturalist painters, Grabelsky creates these unlikely, surreal scenes with a staggering degree of realistic detail. The contrast created between the visual verisimilitude of the works, and the surreal improbability of their content catches the viewer in a prolonged moment of convincingly suspended disbelief.” — Think Space

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