Tickling the Ivory The Muppets embellished giclee on canvas by Tom Matousek is the perfect image for lovers of music, piano, and Rowlf the Dog!
The Muppets are an ensemble cast of puppet characters known for their self-aware, burlesque, and meta-referential style of variety-sketch comedy. Created by Jim Henson and his wife Jane Henson in 1955, they are the namesake for the Disney media franchise that encompasses feature films, television series, music recordings, theme park attractions, print publications, merchandising, and other media works associated with the characters.
The Muppets debuted on the television program Sam and Friends, which aired from 1955 to 1961. After appearing on skits in several late night talk shows and advertising commercials during the 1960s, the Muppets began appearing on Sesame Street in 1969. The Muppets attained celebrity status and international recognition through their breakout roles in The Muppet Show (1976–1981), a primetime television series that garnered four Primetime Emmy Award wins and twenty-one nominations during its five-year run. In the late 1970s and into the 1980s, the Muppets diversified into theatrical feature films, including The Muppet Movie (1979), The Great Muppet Caper (1981), and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984). The Walt Disney Company began involvement with the Muppets in the late 1980s, seeking to acquire the characters from the Jim Henson Company. The Muppets continued their presence in television and film in the 1990s with The Jim Henson Hour (1989), Muppets Tonight (1996–98)—a series continuation of The Muppet Show—and three films, The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Muppet Treasure Island (1996), and Muppets from Space (1999).
Disney acquired the rights to the Muppets franchise in 2004, allowing the characters to gain broader public exposure than in previous years Under Disney's control, the Muppets enjoyed revitalized success, starring in two films—The Muppets (2011) and Muppets Most Wanted (2014)—as well as a short-lived primetime television series on ABC.
Throughout their six decades of existence, the Muppets have been regarded as a staple of the entertainment industry and popular culture in the United States, receiving recognition from various cultural institutions and organizations, such as the American Film Institute, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Library of Congress, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
About Tom Matousek:
“It is my desire to create abstract work that is understandable to all who view it, while at the same time provoking thought, curiosity, imagination, inspiration, and conversation.”
Tom Matousek is a San Francisco based, award winning artist, who began his artistic journey by studying cartoons as a child and in a short time, could draw almost anything from memory. “I have lots of memories of staying up late with my brother and friends, watching Creature Features and drawing anything we could get our hands on—the sports page, baseball and football cards, beverage cans and cartoon characters. I would stay in my room for hours creating my own cartoons. From the time I was a kid it was my dream to be a Disney artist.”
His meteoric rise as a prominent mural painter soon landed his artwork in the homes of professional athletes, high-end restaurants, and at AT&T Park, home of three time World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants. These commissions soon drew the eye of San Francisco’s world renowned theater district, where Tom began a career in Set Design that ultimately led him, in 2010, to win a Shellie Award, the East Bay’s version of the Tony’s.
All the while, Tom Matousek continued to experiment with portraits on canvas, using abstract shapes in order to define his artistic voice even further. It was during this explorative period that Tom began to compose faces using sharp, geometric forms. Although this style, at first glance, appears to be about the individual shapes and colors, it is more about light value, and how that causes the human eye to manipulate the shapes and colors involuntarily in order to find a cohesive form.
This breakthrough in form and style led Tom to be named the artist in residence for the DDR Corporation, which sent him to a various cities around the country to create community art projects based on his unique style. In 2013 and 2014, he was the featured artist at the world’s largest chalk festival in Pasadena, CA. And shortly after that, At Art Basel in Miami Beach, FL, BMW unveiled their i8 concept car at Tom’s show, and he had the opportunity to present the highly esteemed artist, Romero Britto, with a portrait. Upon seeing Tom’s work, Britto, who is no stranger to people painting his image, remarked, “At least 500 people have painted my portrait. Yours is the most spectacular!”
Most recently, Tom has painted for Pat Benatar, Neil Giraldo, former SVP of Google and current Softbank CEO, Nikesh Arora, and TOMS founder, Blake MyCoskie, in addition to countless portraits of celebrities, world leaders and global icons. With all of the famous faces to have graced Tom Matousek’s canvases over the years, it is only fitting that he now turn his deftly trained brush towards one of the most iconic faces in the entire world, Mickey Mouse, thus making his childhood dream of being a Disney Artist come true.