ABOUT // Matt Lambert

My work is an oxymoronic and glibly hypercritical commentary on an uncomfortable driving force which seemingly governs human kind in spite of our good nature and values to the contrary- the quest for more, more, more. It appears that consumerism and the drive to acquire has found its way into most of our hearts and minds.

From pouring over the toys section of the Argos catalogue with my twin to enthusiastically running the Ikea gauntlet with my wife, like many I have found buying shit only ever left me temporarily fulfilled. Yet I am all too willing to do the dance once more. It seems our appetite to consume can have the power and total attraction to rob us of reason and common sense.

I’m fascinated by how our hunter gatherer instincts play out and rub up against the modern consumer world. My work questions whether advertisers are manipulative masterminds or simply people, inevitably stuck in the same traps as their prey, providing messages that are congruent with our evolved human nature. I think the “discerning consumer”, making choices of their own will, is an all consuming myth. This society numbs us to our own and others’ true needs. It creates the illusion of control and masks our vulnerabilities and fears.

 At age 23 I set up the charity Pass It On Africa which has since built four educational facilities in Africa. My continual involvement in running this charity has had a huge influence on my work. The privilege of witnessing first hand both the day-to-day concerns of the developing world and my own culture has been surprising. Excess and greed is present in both extremes but so is hope and kindness. Morality aside, the cultural disparities are huge but at the same time there are behavioural universals that transcend culture and this is what drives my ideas.

My work is not a charity campaign; it’s far too self-indulgent to be that. It is much more a curious exploration into where I find fulfilment and how I myself consume. The beauty of being an artist is that you can explore all sorts of ideas without the restraint of your discoveries ever having to make sense. Your work can be incredibly important to you without ever being necessarily important to the world.

I work in oils on a variety of surfaces including canvas, board and even magazine cover. My inspiration comes from a range of sources including celebrity magazines, childhood memories, evolution, cultural symbols, belief systems, big cities, logos, superheroes and, not least, the developing world. I am influenced by the writings of Peter Singer, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Gad Saad and Jonathan Porritt.