Washougal, WA — It took 20 years of grueling travel in his sales job until penny artist, Matt Gibson, found his passion and artistic talents. Every other week he traveled to Canada as a sales executive for Metapower — and that got old.
“It was a drag being gone so much,” said Gibson. “And I always knew I wanted to do something for myself. I’ve always enjoyed art.”
He started playing around with pennies several years ago, and a gift for a friend slowly turned into a fun side business, which turned into a full-time business venture 18 months ago.
He had a few pieces of art, and spoke with Marquita Call, of Camas Gallery. He brought in a few pieces, and within three days she sold the first one. That opened up more opportunity, and Gibson started making more.
“He has a lot of talent,” said Call. “We’re happy to have him here in our gallery.”
He said it’s been a big learning curve, but that he makes enough money to live off his art — and is seeking to expand the enterprise. In addition to Camas Gallery, Gibon’s penny fish can be found at Pacific House and Vito Veritas, which is a wine bar in Portland.
His produces large, six-foot penny fish art, as well as a 12-inch fish version, which are designed as wall art.
“I like working with pennies,” he said. “They’re colorful and easy to work with.”
Gibson easily spends a week putting together a new design, which he calls the prototype. After the prototype phase, the large fish take about 20 hours to produce, and require about 1,900 pennies. The smaller ones take two to three hours and require 150 pennies, which are applied using high strength hot glue. To date, he’s create 150 pieces of art — 135 of which have been created in the last 18 months.
Pennyfish art is available at Camas Gallery, where Gibson was recently the featured artist of the month. Camas Gallery is located in downtown Camas, on 4th Avenue.
To learn more, visit www.pennyfishdesigns.com or you can visit his brand-new Facebook Page: Pennyfish Design