Mateo was born in 1865

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About Mateo Dineen

I was born with a pencil in my hand.
How the pencil got in there, I'll never know.

I remember drawing as a kid. Like just about any kid, it was a way for me to create my own worlds. A way to escape into my fantasy world. It was never about the end result so much. It was usually done as a way to create a story on paper. A story I could live inside of for a while. Now when I make drawings and paintings I’m hoping to make something that others can live in for a while as well. 

My love of monsters and other creatures goes back a long way. I think I was probably strongly influenced by things like The Muppets, Star Wars, Dr. Seuss, and Dungeons & Dragons (to name a few). Those shows, books, and games, all seemed to welcome me into an expansive universe where anything could happen. It was an intoxicating thought. And I certainly never thought I’d be someone creating anything like that for a living. I never thought it was possible. I had never seen an adult who did that type of work for a living, so it just seemed a bit like magic made by people far far away. Then I saw a Star Wars "making-of" video showing adults making monster puppets for a living! I saw behind the curtain! That left an impression on me, and gave me something to strive for. I mean, I still didn’t think it was a realistic future for me, but it planted a seed of sorts in my mind.

As I got older I kept drawing, and monsters were always a common theme. I never really stopped drawing, it was always something I loved to do. My ability gradually improved. Then at the age of 20 I made a decision to chase the dream. I began the process of applying for art schools. I ended up going to the Academy of Art in San Francisco. It helped me hone my talents, and taught me some discipline (something I lacked before going in). It also taught me that there are loads and loads of talented artists out there, and that the ones who make a living are the ones who want it the most; the ones who hustle. I doubled down my efforts and made some lifestyle changes that allowed me to put even more time into my art. 

Those efforts paid off, but I also got lucky. I fell in love and moved to Berlin, Germany. That was in 2004. The cost of living there was a fraction of San Francisco’s. The quality of life was high, even for people with a low income. That was the first lucky break. Then I partnered up with Johan Potma, a Dutch artist also living in Berlin. That was the second lucky break. You see, he and I pushed one another to new heights. It wasn’t always easy, but the partnership seemed to accelerate my (and his) career. 

We opened a gallery together in 2005. It’s called Zozoville Gallery and it’s still going strong. 

In 2011 I opened another gallery/studio space in Berlin. That one is called Skallywag Gallery. That is where I currently spend most of my time. 

My path to get here has been fascinating and fun. I'm creating monsters for a living. I guess dreams do come true.

My journey continues...

...oh and one more thing. I sometimes accept commissions. So if you want to buy an original but don't see one that fits. Then contact me and I'll see what I can do within your budget if I'm not too overloaded with other projects.