Matthew Wong, a talented young artist with a promising career, died by suicide on Wednesday at the age of 35, according to his New York gallery, Karma, Art News reported.
Wong had staged three solo shows and participated in a number of group exhibitions before he died. He was known for his brilliantly colored landscape paintings.
Fans, friends, and colleagues, have been paying tribute on Twitter.
— BB5 (@BIGBANG__OT5) October 7, 2019
T.O.P's ~ Choi Seung Huyn's post & Message
R.I.P Matthew Wong 🙏💔
Thank you for always being there for your friends🙏
Gone too soon 😢 pic.twitter.com/jp3lEt9zg2
— TOP of the TOP (@TOP_oftheTOP) October 7, 2019
So saddened by the sudden loss of friend and painter, Matthew Wong, at 35. He always made me want to be a better artist, and took the time to stop by my shows and write me his thoughts on my latest work. His paintings kept getting better and better. A heartbreaking loss. pic.twitter.com/ce8ChIzcEh
— Kimia (@alkeemi) October 7, 2019
Wong was born on March 8, 1984, in Toronto. He was based in Edmonton, Canada. He earned his bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2007, before moving to Hong Kong.
Wong spent his first two years in Hong Kong working desk jobs “with no real sense of purpose or commitment in life.” But due to an interest in photography, he enrolled in the MFA photography program of the City University of Hong Kong School of Creative Media in 2010.
"…a very meaningful friend who gave me great strength over the past year when I was in the most difficult situation…"
Rest in Peace, Matthew Wong. Thank you for being there when Seunghyun needed you. May you find your peace.
— 👑*Em_ #BANGCHELLA (@AnneAkaEm) October 7, 2019
RIP Matthew Wong: Brilliant painter dead at 35.
I was the first to write on his magical work. When I asked him where he learned to paint he said “On your Facebook page.”
For 8-yrs my Facebook page was a nexus of artists talking to other artists. Matthew was one of them. 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/fSppl9c30a
— Jerry Saltz (@jerrysaltz) October 7, 2019
— V.I.Pwhenever715 (@KarenMa77271596) October 7, 2019
However, he did not feel a sense of satisfaction or fulfillment in taking the course.
“Even towards the end of my degree I felt I had gained no real skills or prospects that could take me forward in the professional world,” Wong said in an interview with Neoteric Art.
I read Jen Guidi post about Matthew Wong this morning and my heart ached. Now reading seunghyun wrote about him oh man.. coming from him who experienced the same darkness… 💔
— 🐻 🔫🎁❤ (@dorkyness887) October 7, 2019
It’s sad that Seunghyun can say: “I have many friends who chose sad deaths.” Rest in peace, Matthew Wong.
— 🌙 (@cigs88_) October 7, 2019
Tabi’s comment under one of Matthew Wong paintings “So heart broken..” Stay strong Seunghyung😞 pic.twitter.com/WgsZIvvetY
— Nai • (@NaiBb_) October 7, 2019
As a result, he took up drawing and painting “as a last resort to find something to hold on to.” He was soon deeply immersed in painting and drawing, while also writing poetry. He also got involved with the online creative arts community and was a frequent contributor to discussions on Facebook and other online forums.
Matthew Wong gained attention in 2018 when he held his debut solo exhibition at Karma in New York. His work consisted of an impressive collection of “vaguely Post-Impressionist” large-scale oil landscapes.
Art critic Jerry Saltz described Wong’s exhibition as “one of the most impressive solo New York debuts I’ve seen in a while.”
oil on canvas,
48 × 60 inches. pic.twitter.com/ch9OB5xMq5
— k 👑 #spookybang (@dontdropdcrown) October 7, 2019
In a 2018 interview with Art of Choice, Wong described himself as an “omnivore for sights sounds and ideas and am always on the lookout for perspectives.” He shared that he derived inspiration from a various artists, such as “Edvard Munch, Shitao, Xu Wei, Lee Lozano, Vincent van Gogh, Lois Dodd, Alex Katz, and Kanye West.”
He said he worked instinctively without making preparatory drawings and got his creative ideas from “daydreaming, watching movies, and taking walks.”
“Sometimes I could just be making marks almost haphazardly and at a certain point I step back and realize I have a finished, satisfactory image that I have no idea how I managed to pull that one off,” he once said in an interview with Studio Critical.