Matt Wilson’s goal as an artist is to make metal artwork unlike anything you have seen, while at the same time using everyday materials that are instantly recognizable.
The artist: Born and raised in Greenville, SC, Wilson attended the Fine Arts Center of Greenville, a special art school in his senior year of high school and later studied drawing and painting at Winthrop University. In 2006, he left college and moved to Charleston, ready to try a new medium. Wilson, who wanted to learn how to weld, interviewed at Detyens Shipyards and became its resident artist. As a “thank you for your business,” he makes metal models of the ships that come to be serviced.
The company: Airtight Artwork, based in Charleston, started in 2013. Wilson uses organic and recycled materials, such as utensils, scrap metal and reclaimed wood to create his upcycled sculptures.
The company name: Airtight was Wilson’s nickname in college. He was shy, quiet and a man of few words.
The materials: Scrap metal, utensils, driftwood and reclaimed wood. He finds cutlery at thrift stores and yard sales.
What’s popular: Birds ($150 and up). The more detailed the piece, the higher the price.
Other favorites: Shrimp ($450); fish (around $400); and owls ($300 and up).
Fun (or unusual) requests: Space guns and harmonica holders. Also commissions, such as an Apache helicopter, a pole vaulter made of old dental tools and an octopus (using an old camera lens for an eye.)
Claim to fame/awards: “Best in Sculpture” at the 2016 Piccolo Spoleto juried art exhibition. Also nominated for “Best Local Visual Artist” in the Charleston City Paper for 2014, 2015 and 2016.