Matthew Squibb

Matthew Squibb


October 31, 2014


A deep and contextual thinker with a killer imagination, Sylvania-based artist Matthew Squibb is a printmaker, ceramicist and an art teacher at Washington Local. Feeling like he produces the most creative output when gaining some momentum, he like to work in series’ — several of which he’s chipping away at right now. We caught up with him to talk about those current projects, as well as soccer and Guided By Voices. 

Tell us more about some of your past projects?

I recently designed a “skateboard” relief printmaking press for my students and with the help of the Whitmer Welding program we have had it up and running this fall. It is a large steel rocker with a skateboard mounted on top that creates enough pressure to transfer ink from printing block to paper. It is part printmaking and part playground fun.

I have also had my hands in a number of projects with the Sylvania Community Arts Commission. The SCAC has really stepped up their game in the last few years with the Maple and Main Art Festival, mural projects, Shorties U and the Tree City Film Festival.  It is a fun group of people to be around and work with.

What current projects are you working on?

I like to work in series’. My latest is a series of etchings that depict various atmospheres captured in terrariums. I have also been working on a series of mezzotints challenging the comfort and safety of home. You know, the kind of warm and fuzzy stuff people like to hang in their house. I also just started a bicycle club in Sylvania called the Sylvania Slow Ryders. It is for people who have awesome bikes but are not particularly interested in sport. 

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

This is home and it is good to be home.

Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

Convincing my wife to be my wife. There is no greater success that I have had.

Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

These are trade secrets that I am not willing to discuss

Tell us about your background.

I have only ever lived in Northwest Ohio.  Born and raised in Oregon, Ohio, I attended Clay High School and then on to BGSU for my undergrad in printmaking and art education. I then received my masters in Art Education at The University of Toledo. I have lived in Oregon, Bowling Green, Toledo, and I currently reside in Sylvania. 

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

East side till I die? YOLO? I do not really live my life by slogans or mottos. Mottos like “live, laugh, love” make me want to head butt a pair of scissors.  

Favorite place for local culture?

The Museum is an obvious choice; I took classes at the museum in my youth but I am going to throw a curveball here and say Culture Clash Records. Why? Because “culture” is in the name.  I have always loved that I can go in there and hear something new or old, inspirational, and amazing. Pat O’Connor is a cultural icon and I hope they build a statue of him right in the middle of the Monroe and Secor intersection some day!

Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . . 

The LeSo Gallery, in East Toledo, has been doing some amazing work. It is inspiring what they have built over there. I love the fact that there are people thinking creatively and investing themselves in a community only a few blocks from where I grew up. They have shown that they are more than a gallery. They are an inspiring place of action and motivation and a real force to be reckoned with moving forward.

My favorite place to chill locally is . . .

I have an Irish pub in my basement so I do not need to go very far for chilling purposes.

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . . 

The 577 Foundation.

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . . 


If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .

Creative people are great with ideas, but inspiration can be fleeting and follow through may not seem as important as the idea itself. At least, I know this as one of my own shortcomings. You need a Ying and a Yang. Creative people need the help of (for the lack of a better term) uncreative people. Organizers, schedulers, and accountants. I truly appreciate my left-brain friends who help me accomplish my visions and goals. They are creative in ways that I am not. With that said I think Toledo is on the verge of a full on creative renaissance the city has not seen in years. 

Any exciting collaborations (past or present) you would like to tell us about?

Last year my students at Whitmer High School where involved in creating artwork that is permanently displayed at The New Liberato Didio and Peter Goldblatt Interactive Museum of Anatomy and Pathology at The University of Toledo. This was a perfect opportunity for students to combine art and science to solve a real world problem.  The museum was a life long dream for Dr. Carlos Baptista and he was insistent that artwork for the space was created by students, and I am glad that my students were able to be the ones who played a part in making it happen.

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with. 

David Cayton, my printmaking instructor at BGSU, who is still my printmaking hero and the reason I am still making prints today. Anyone who has known him would say the same.

Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.

Areas of my Expertise by John Hodgman

3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .

Industrious, satirical, contextual. 

Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.

You may think my priorities are askew for laboring over this question. I pondered this question for a long time, starting with a list of 8 and painfully eliminating a few killer albums based on the acoustics of a desert island. I probably spent more time on this question than the rest of them combined.

Here they are in no particular order:

1. Red Roses for Me, Pogues

2. Graceland, Paul Simon

3. If You Leave, Daughter

4. The Fawn, The Sea and Cake

5. Live at San Quinten, Johnny Cash


My biggest vice is . . .

My biggest vice is proper football. I am a supporter of the “free beer movement”, Team USA, and a Manchester United club member. I coached and played for many years and I am, according to my wife, fanatical about the teams that I follow.  How can you not love a game that is played in the abstract, players in constant motion, thinking both offensively and defensively at the same time, and 45 minutes between commercials! GLORY GLORY MAN UNITED!

I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.

This is a difficult question so I would like to indulge in it and create a top three.


•Trader Joes

•The dream of a “Walkable Westgate”

What’s the last dream you recall having?

I recently had this dream that all the water in the lake turned green and it would make you sick if you drank it. Then people starting hoarding bottled water.  Shortly after this, people starting dumping buckets of clean water over their heads. It was crazy!

The last lyric that moved me was . . . 

I am moved every time I hear the song “I am a Scientist” by Guided by Voices.  You will have to do the legwork and find the lyrics yourself, but it is worth it. This song perfectly summarizes what it is to be human.

One movie character I identify with is . . . 

Combination of Royal Tenenbaum and all the other characters Bill Murray has played in Wes Anderson films.

The best gift I’ve ever received was . . . 

A great childhood, it is easy to take for granted, but my parents did the best on a shoestring budget. We did not have a lot, growing up on a houseboat on the Maumee River, but had what we needed. A strong, buoyant, supportive, and loving home.  If everyone had what I had growing up, we could fix a lot of the problems in today society. 

My most inspiring moment was/is . . .

The birth of my two children. It was not something I was prepared for and it forever changes your emotional makeup. I will not get into the details or the day-to-day stories. It is enough to know every day is something new, a challenge, and a blessing.

I want my last meal to be _______________.

At least twelve courses, and I hope to leave a big tip.


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