I’ve known Matt LeBlanc for coming onto 4 years now, and he’s a dream client: creative, forward thinking, gives me free rein — AND — he pays quickly!
Apart from being an amazing artist, he’s also a great marketer. But it has only been just recently he started storytelling. So many of us think that sharing our story is too insignificant, too boring, or too… well, personal. I would argue that the more human we allow ourselves to be, the more strongly we will touch and connect to the people that we want to work with. My case in point: you’re reading this either because you’re a fan of Matt’s art, or a fan of my writing. I'm happy with either.
I think there is a great deal of magic and destiny in how Matt became an artist. And I’m so glad he shared his story with me a few months back so I could shape it into his bio. Here it is, from his Matt LeBlanc Art site.
the store, the box, and the
man in black
I never went to art school. I loved to paint when I was a kid, but I went to university thinking I would become an engineer. That lasted for a short time. After my first semester I was far more attracted to the marketing courses I was taking as optional curriculum than the numbers of engineering. So I switched over and graduated from the marketing program.
Eventually I got an account executive position at a Moncton advertising agency and for about five years all was going well. But everyday I would pass by a brightly painted art supplies store on my way to work. Sometimes waiting for the traffic light to change I would wonder what it was like in there, and thinking I should stop in. Once, as I was daydreaming about learning how to paint, I saw a sign about art courses. “Art class, at my age? Art classes are for kids and retired people. I don’t know if I’d want to take an art class… maybe I could teach myself.” The honking horns brought me back to traffic and I was off, thinking no more about it.
Except one day I found myself veering off my usual path, and right into the parking lot. Before I knew it, I was in the store and asking for advice. The sales clerk wasn’t very helpful, but then an older man dressed all in black, came over to help me. In just a few minutes he taught me about brush quality, paint palettes, palette knives, and paint. And then he was gone. When I took my purchases to the sales clerk I asked about this mysterious man and she said she’d never seen him before.
I wonder to this day if this man in black was real, or sent just to help me get started, because I would have just walked out that door if it weren’t for him. When I got home, I remembered a box that I had tripped over the day before that was addressed to my wife. It turns out that inside this box was a painting she had bought from a New York artist on eBay for our soon to be dream house. When she showed me the abstract painting I was drawn to the texture, the colour, even the smell. I was hooked.
I told her about the art supplies I had purchased that day, and that I was going to play around with painting. She didn’t take me seriously, until I showed her my first painting. Well, even then I had to show her my painting area in the basement before she believed that I was able to create a piece of art that she actually liked.
I started selling my paintings to friends, and word began to spread. Within five years of first picking up the brush and palette and nearly killing myself with two full-time jobs, the art job won over, and I officially became Matt LeBlanc, Full-time Artist.
Thanks Matt! I think life puts things into our path: like a store, a box, and a man in black. But It is up to us to heed the signs.