Taking a "Glance" at Matthew Zeitoun
Showcasing and interviewing the Patterson NJ native photographer, filmmaker, & podcaster.
Shortly after, I learned that he was a filmmaker, a podcast host, and so much more. He quickly became one of the creatives I followed most closely on all my social medias. I wanted to share his work and shine a light on his creative process for you guys in hopes to inspire you a little. So, without further adieu…
The Glance - A Zeitoun Picture
You've mentioned viewing your art as a form of service. Can you elaborate on that? How do you see your work impacting or contributing to the community or audience you serve?
“I’d describe it as selfish service. At the end of the day my eye and my mind pursue subjects that attract it and ultimately as the creator I’m doing whatever I can to portray the feeling, person, or moment as truthfully as possible. I chase the lightning. Through my pursuit and sharing of the piece the audience has the opportunity to have an experience. Through my expression the viewer dances to the music. They bring their own steps to song but it’s us dancing nonetheless.
I can’t say I know how it serves people because every person comes with their own history and perspective to each piece.
For example there was a time last year my camera was busted. (Not fully fucked but the focus ring was nuts and made everything blurry. Which in a way was a plus) so in lieu of not being able to take photos of people I started doing these things called light paintings.
This one is noise no2:
So basically, and I don’t know if anybody's doing this (and if anyone bites my swag I swear to God I’ll find you and skullfuck you), I’m just taking a long exposure of pure darkness and essentially painting with the artifacts of the camera noise.
Now these are just paintings that are coming out of pure darkness.
This piece is called wildfire:
Now I love the piece but I’m just painting and following the moment
Now with Twitter I have people who don’t know me and they’re bringing in their own feelings to the piece
Anthony who’s been a great supporter did this on wildfire
At the end of the clip he says he looks at it everyday and maybe it’s because his “anger burns him and he feels like a lit cigarette”
These are all paintings that literally develop from darkness and still there is an experience being had from my expression.
Which means the world to me.
“my grandmother’s storytelling”
Given that perspective of ‘art as a service’, how much do you consider your audience? Do you find yourself tailoring your work to fit their expectations, or do you primarily focus on self-expression?
The service is selfish in the sense that. I do the pieces for me. I need to make things to stay sane. Its my meditation. Photos, films, acting, writing, music, graffiti, cooking, and even fucking if you look at it the right way.
I never consider the audience.
I invite them; as if to say “come on in the waters great”
but at the end of the day it’s my eye, my perspective, and my human experience showing up in the pieces.
On pandering unlike a studio photographer I’m not actively designing the shot; I’m merely reacting to the world around me. (Although I do find my mind gravitating toward subjects I emotionally empathize with.)
Mostly every photograph is off the cuff, a lot of the films are relying on improv for dialogue.
(I might just be lazy)
There’s a beauty in it, recording the stream of consciousness; keeps things human. I hate listening to beats with quantized drums. Never been a fan of fake tits.
Imagine a perfect world for creators like yourself. What does it look like? What’s the difference between that creative utopia and our world?
Hmm creative utopia…
The world’s a fucked up place with a lot of beauty in it.
It’s strange because I come from the benefit of falling into a creative oasis in my hometown of Paterson with Prototype 237. Having a supportive community definitely would be in there as a staple. With Prototype I have the privilege of getting the perspective of artists in a bunch of different mediums. I wouldn’t say Prototype is a utopia but more like a family of creatives that supports each other. Now there’s stress, emotions, and worries like any familial setting. I’m a person coming from a family where maybe just my cousin Tony Dimps and my brother, to a small extent, know or even give enough of a shit to know what I’m doing. So definitely community support, artists helping artists. Money is nice but not the end goal. Honestly if I had more money I’d just make more films uncompromised and pay crew more.
I don’t know man, it’s a strange question because ultimately I don’t think a utopia can exist because human beings are flawed by nature.
Even if we’re given the garden of Eden we’d find some way to fuck it up.
If your different creative pursuits were guests at a dinner party, what conversations would they have with each other? How do they influence and inform one another? And given that they would be characters, how would you personify them?
Prototype is the younger adopted brother in a family of circus performers. @prototypepaterson
Phenotype is a new father that’s doing his best to keep the house together and his kids happy and growing. @phenotypestages
Zeitoun Pictures is a poet / satirist who walks around the city experiencing its beauty in the grit. @zeitounpictures
The Patersonian is an activist and community organizer whose sick of human life being reduced to a clickbait headline for advertisement money. @thepatersonian
Afternoon.FM is your therapist sipping tea and experiencing your life, art and trauma to bossa nova albums. @afternoon.fm
Hoodfamous is Anthony Bourdain who happened to bring checkers to the table. @hoodfamoustv
The Your. Company is a dude in sweatpants who sparked everybody up at the table on organic weed. @theyour.company
Three Kings is none other than David Platinumberg lawyer / leper adorned in a Balaclava advising everyone at the table while delivering harsh truths. @threekingsentertainment
Prototype and Phenotype are sitting together because they’re related and everyone is having dinner at their house.
Zeitoun Pictures is looking at Platinumberg because the light that hits his mask is beautiful but is trying to get a shot of him without disrupting his natural posture.
The Your. Company is trying to slip the therapist in Afternoon.FM some weed under the table.
Hoodfamous is there for the food and conversation.
The Patersonian is ranting about the multi million dollar heroin operation in the city and how the police are using excessive force.
And at one point, all of them–for a brief moment–shut the fuck up, look at the food, then at each other. They close their eyes, smile softly,
And give thanks.
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