Drew Matott is a Master Papermaker and has two fully equipped papermaking studios that he works from; one in Hamburg, Germany and the other in Potsdam, New York.
Matott first studied hand papermaking under Peter Sowiski and Paul D. Martin as part of his BFA in Printmaking program at State University College of New York- Buffalo.
During his first papermaking course (Sowiski), Matott was immediately drawn to the ability to control the content of the printing processes by making paper from rags of personal and political significance. After he made an edition of artists books using material from his late father (Martin & Sowiski), he was inspired to use the book arts as a way to create empowering community works.
Beneath the Bhodi Tree, 1999.
Upon completing his BFA in Printmaking, Matott moved to Burlington, Vermont. There he partnered with Lydia Bright to launch the Green Door Studio (2002), a community arts studio. Matott outfitted the Green Door Studio with his first papermaking studio, the People's Republic of Paper (2003) where he focused on making paper art and teaching classes at the Community College of Vermont. It is through such a workshop that he met Drew Cameron; their relationship would later become the foundation for the development of the Combat Paper Project (2007).
People's Republic of Paper, 2005.
In 2005, Matott moved to Chicago to pursue his MFA in Book & Paper Arts at Columbia College; there he studied under the direction of Andrea Peterson (papermaking), Clifton Meador (letterpress printing), Melissa Jay Craig (book art) & William Drendel (book art).
As a student of Andrea Peterson, Matott continued to investigate papermaking as a form of intervention and social engagement. He poured pulp on the sidewalks and rolled his papermaking vat around the streets. He used his portable papermaking operation in a performative manner to solicit participation from pedestrians on social, political, environmental and religious topics; such as Pulp Portraits of President Bush (2005 & 6).
To develop more elaborate visual questionnaires for his street engagements, Matott created Pulp Printing, a technique of spraying finely beaten and pigmented pulps through a coarse silkscreen stencil. The first intervention which he used this process with was Pulp Portraits of Your Religious Leader (2007).
Matott merged his newly learned letterpress printing and bookbinding skills to create a number of artist book editions, which he sold or donated to special collection libraries throughout the United States. He worked with his friend and long-time collaborator John LaFalce on an altered book performance Deep Fried Book (2007).
Deep Fried Book, Chicago 2007.
While studying in Chicago, Matott returned regularly to work out of the Green Door Studio, exhibiting his artist book installations and collaborating with war veterans to develop the Combat Paper Project.
His MFA thesis focused on using papermaking as a part of the socially engaged anti-war movement. Matott teamed up with artists, veterans and activists to conduct workshops where veterans pulped their uniforms and broadcast their anti-war voice. The thesis work culminated with the orchestration of Combat Paper Project's 2008 lecture, workshop and exhibition tour. Matott co-directed Combat Paper Project until 2011.
Breaking Rank, In collaboration with Drew Cameron, 2008.
In 2011, Matott stepped off of Combat Paper Project in order to explore papermaking as art therapy and to develop Peace Paper Project, an international papermaking program that utilizes papermaking as a form of social engagement, art therapy and fine art making. He continues to co-direct Peace Paper Project with Cleveland based Art Therapist Gretchen Miller.
Following community art and teaching residencies in the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Poland, Ukraine and India, Matott moved to Hamburg, Germany where, with artist Jana Schumacher, he founded St. Pauli Paper Studio (2016).