Matthew Amey

by Dana Kester-McCabe

Matthew Amey explores mysterious themes in two and three dimensional art forms. Making art began with sibling rivalry.

Matt returned to school in his thirties to study art at the University of Delaware. He has found an intellectual balance between business and fine art - between tattooing and personal expression.

Matt is working on a conceptual installation piece about the relationship between art and commerce. Participants in the project allow Matt to draw their blood in the form of a design that spells YES using the yen, the euro, and the dollar sign. These mono prints are encased in clear Lucite bricks which are etched with a title and limited edition number. These are either sold to the participants or are collected to be used in the installation where they will be stacked like gold bricks inviting the viewer to contemplate the meaning of money.

There are a growing number of artists on Delmarva who produce art that goes beyond the usual regional themes of beaches, boats, and ducks. Matt points out that they are not necessarily younger and what could be called the “underground art scene” has been here for a long time. Matt’s business, Independent Tattoo, now houses a gallery for these alternative artists whose work might not fit into other venues with shows on nontraditional themes.

Matt has also produced a limited edition book on the scull which is a classic tattoo icon he is fascinated with. One hundred fifty one artists from eighteen countries around the world contributed their creative responses to the idea of scull as art and specific line drawings that Matt provided. Copies of this book are still available for purchase on his website.

Technology has radically changed the way Matt promotes his business and how he makes his art. Recently Matthew has begun laser etching various hard surfaces, which he uses to create hand-pulled woodblock and intaglio prints. He gave up advertising for social media and is using 3-D printing to create sculptures and tattoo equipment. After some experimentation and research, Matt found a firm that could print seamless three dimensional renderings in metal (rather than plastic) of his tattoo machine designs.

Matt advises people who take up art to practice the basics and to have the confidence to know when a piece is finished. His work represents both the iconic beauty of ancient motifs and the excitement of modern technology. In all these aspects he is clear about his objectives: creating clean strong finished works of art.

The gallery at Independent Tattoo in West Fenwick, Delaware, will hold monthly shows throughout the year. You can see Matt’s work there, on his website and you can purchase his prints at