Ashland Graduate Has Artwork Displayed in Troop Center
Recent Ashland University graduate Matt Durbin is known across campus for his artwork. Known for his live paintings and drawings, Durbin is a familiar face on campus. His interest in art began as soon as he could hold a crayon.
Majoring in Fine Arts with a focus in Painting and a minor in Ceramics, Durbin graduated in December of 2010. Currently, his work is being displayed in the Robert Troop Center, Ashland University’s new athletic building that houses numerous sports.
Smiling as he recalled chasing his cat around the house in attempts to become better at drawing, Durbin was influenced and motivated by his father and older sisters.
“I tried to draw at their level, so it always got me just a little bit better,” Durbin said.
Art is a family affair for Durbin. His father learned how to paint from his grandmother, passing it down to Durbin and his sisters. Though he is the only one pursuing art as a career, he acknowledges that his sisters remain artistic in their own niches.
In the past few years, Durbin has grown confident that this is the right path for him because of how his artwork speaks to others. The audience is able to connect with the paintings, which speak in ways Durbin never thought possible.
“I’ve done some paintings where it’s in front of an audience and I just think, ‘I just hope someone really connects with it’ and sometimes it’s so close to hitting home for them that they’ll come to tears,” Durbin said. “They’ll explain their story and how this painting is speaking directly to them.”
For Durbin, those incidents are the motivating factors to continue to pursue his dream. “It brings joy to me just to see other people connect with it,” Durbin said.
He admits to communicating best through his artwork. Through his work, he is able to create something that speaks more than what he can physically tell his audience.
“God speaks through my paintings in a way that I couldn’t even put in words,” he said.
Durbin felt blessed to have Ashland University President Fred Finks approach him about displaying artwork at the Robert Troop Center. President Finks had just watched a live painting Durbin completed at Five Stones Community Church. Glad to have been given the opportunity, Durbin hopes that he was able to make President Finks proud.
Durbin has the distinct honor of being the first worship painter for an online magazine called the Christian Community Music Magazine. The issue will come out in February on the CCM Magazine website. In addition to this, Durbin has had worked displayed at the Kenosis Gallery in Mansfield and with the Ohio Governors Art Exhibition. He received two top 25 awards during his high school years.
With some of his work already displayed on campus, Durbin says he would love to work once again for Ashland University. Though the budget is too tight right now, he is hopeful that he will once again display his work on campus. Durbin is currently working as a freelance artist.
“The best thing about being a freelance artist is handing the customer the final product. There is no other feeling like the one you get when you see a satisfied face,” Durbin said.
Those reactions keep him inspired to continue his art. Staying level, Durbin focuses on one piece of work at a time and one job at a time, always unsure of where his next step will be. While he is uncertain what the future will hold, Durbin remains optimistic.
“I’m hoping that I stay patient enough to let God place me where He wants me to be,” Durbin said, “I feel like I’m meant to keep pursuing art. I’m going to keep doing that until I hear otherwise.”