Matteo Miles isn’t a starving artist; in fact, he says he’s quite “well-fed.”
Miles, whose real name is Matthew Gutierrez, is the quintessential up-and-coming young artist who is willing to go where the work takes him. But Miles says he has plenty of work to keep him busy.
Miles works at Aloft Greenville Downtown as both a bartender and an artist. He started at Aloft when it opened about two years ago and has since begun making the lobby more welcoming with his unique chalk murals about current happenings in Greenville. He travels to other Aloft hotels for murals and works with AC Hotels, as well.
“I update the murals about once a month and completely redo them with the seasons,” he says. Miles, who says he has always had a passion for art, never expected to work with chalk murals or in hotels, but he is always hungry for the next project, whatever it might be.
At 23, he has lived in Greenville for about nine years since his family moved from Pasadena, California, after watching an episode of HGTV’s “Flip This House” and thinking it looked like a nice place to live.
In addition to working with Aloft on its unique wall art, he helps with window art at Paw Paws USA, Blueberry Frog, Yee Haw Brewery, Cantina 76, and other places around town. He does his own tattoo art, as well as pet portraits.
He will be completing his first exterior mural, which will focus on Greenville’s history and legacy, on the outside of East Broad Street’s new Hyatt Place hotel, which is set to be completed in January 2019.
“I feel like I don’t have a niche that I consistently do; I just enjoy painting all types of things. Oil paint on canvas and panel is one of my favorites, and then chalk and pastel,” Miles says. “I’ve been trying to build singular collections that focus on one medium and one concentration.”
Miles began doing portraits of pets while working at Aloft, a dog-friendly hotel that allows guests to stay with their dogs and bring them to the bar. It even has an adoption program through Lucky Pup Rescue SC, which has placed about 80 dogs.
“I feel like working in the hotel business as an artist is a great way to meet a lot of people and make connections for work,” he says. “The dog portraits just fell in my lap, like a lap dog!”
Miles hopes to continue to grow, learn, and delve deeper into the Greenville art community. “I would like to talk more with other artists consistently and be a closer part of that community here,” he says.
Miles also boasts another unique interest. He is in school studying to be a mortician. While the two careers may seem to have little in common, he thinks otherwise. “I think arts and sciences merge well. I always grew up drawing out of anatomy books,” he says.
He has been able to bring art into that world, as well, as he has painted portraits of loved ones who have passed away. Miles finds a way to integrate his love for art into anything he is doing, and he doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
“There’s this scene in ‘Big Eyes’ where [Margaret Keane] is just painting up in the attic, painting on canvas and drinking her tea, and that’s just the goal for me one day. That would be really amazing working as a full-time artist,” Miles says.
As he continues his schooling as a mortician, he will transition to learning about forensic pathology, and working as an artist the rest of the time.
“Art is the lifetime,” Miles says. “Mortician and forensic pathology is amazing, but I won’t let art as my passion take a back seat.”