The Evocative Spontaneous Realism Art of Oklahoma-Artist: Matthew R. Paden

Throughout human history, art has influenced civilizations, societies, and individuals in ways beyond imagination.

Whether its self-exploration, morals or values of a society, or a portrayal of experiences and events – art has always played a vital role in creating an image of a specific cohort and defining the way they collectively exist, communicate and behave in a broader perspective.

Talking about art, in recent times, the element of ‘realism’ has made considerable in-roads in art.

Back in 2012, three incredibly talented artists Jos Coufreur, VOKA and Francoise Nielly came up with their own stylistic form of art which they labeled, "Spontaneous Realism."

In the past few years, this style of art has picked up widespread attention and acknowledgement from all around the world.

Spontaneous Realism – A Closer Look

So, what is it, really? – In the simplest of definitions, Spontaneous Realism is a form of art that uses bold color schemes and abstract art to give an unrealistic and bright-colored feel to a realistic photo. With the help of acrylic paints, dynamic brushstrokes and random palettes, the portrait is recreated – adding more life, more colors, and a whole lot of meaning to it.

One of the primary elements of this form of art is the unnatural color scheme that is achieved via low-detailed and high contrast color choices. It is imperative to know that the color selection needs to be in real high contrast to give it a bold, prominent, and valiant overall feel to the final portrait.

Savvy Palette – By Matthew R. Paden

In 2017, award-winning artist, Matthew R. Paden, created his own brand ‘Savvy Palette’ that revolves around modern-day artistic dynamics, bright colors, and unique brush strokes, that resonates with people belonging to all walks of life.

As with many other artists that you might have heard of, the artistic journey was not too easy for Paden either. Having gone through numerous ups and downs in life, rejections and criticism thrown at him for his love of art – one thing that he did not do was give up on his dream of becoming an artist. Even after doing a lot of odd jobs in various cities and states, he kept his dream alive and kept pursuing his love for art. Back in the winter of 2012, he set off for Oklahoma and that is where he finally managed to pursue his dream and establish himself as a true artist – his work reaching out to a number of long-term, loyal clients who are able to interpret and connect to his work.

Currently, Paden is working on five series – Famous Faces, Utopia, Sublime, Skin and Inspired. All of his work sends a strong, decipherable depiction of influential figures and icons – some of whom that we still might look up to or get inspired in a number of different ways.

‘Famous Faces’ Series – Taking Spontaneous Realism to a New Level

His renowned work, ‘Famous Faces’, is a collection of twenty-one portraits of iconic individuals belonging to the 60s, 70s and 80s era – each portrait taking Spontaneous Realism to a whole different level with his vibrant choice of colors, acrylic hues and unrealistic portrayal of individuals who have had a huge impact to millions across the world.

These twenty-one, handpicked abstract portraits have gained widespread attention – with its latest participation at the Carpe Artem Gallery in Oklahoma City in July 2020. Some of the acclaimed work in this series includes:

  • Survivor

  • Rebel Soul

  • Bolivia Bound

  • Sweet Chemical Angst

  • Cocaine Country

"Survivor," by Matthew R. Paden

At present, he is working on, "Cocaine Country" an incredible 30 x 48 x 1.5 in. Gallery wrapped acrylic painting of The Man In Black that portrays the iconic country singer and musician, Johnny Cash. One of the best-selling music artists the world has ever seen, Johnny Cash left a legacy that will be acknowledged and recognized by generations to come. The lyrics, the music, and the story his songs had, spoke to hundreds and thousands around the world.

To keep his legacy alive, Paden incorporated Johnny Cash into his Famous Faces series and once completed, it will be uploaded to his website

Spontaneous Realism & Matthew R. Paden – In a Nutshell

They say life is not easy – well, Paden’s artistic journey and the iconic figures that he selects for his Spontaneous Realism abstract art, is a perfect example of it. Those famous individuals that we have grown up listening to, have not had an easy life either. What we see is their immense talent or skills they possessed – however, the events, life experiences and tragic moments that made them come up with those heart-touching lyrics, emotional musical notes and some unrealistic song compositions, is something that most of are not aware of.

Paden, through his work of Spontaneous Realism, brings those icons and their lives to us – telling us how easy it can be to give up on life when things are not going our way and what it really takes to fight our own demons, look at the devil right in the eye, and just walk past it when that is what we really need to do.

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The Savvy Artist

Starting my artistic journey in 1997, the desire to create art that I attained soon became an unyielding obligation to myself to explore the inner mechanism of my creative consciousness.


From small sketches to large scale projects, my art is a highly-personal reflection of myself.

I’ve been lucky enough to have participated in many collaborative projects, as well as exhibiting in a solo capacity, which has solidified my reputation in the art world.


If you would like to find out more about my process, get in touch.

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© 2017 - 2020 by Matthew R. Paden. All Rights Reserved.