RIP Matthew Wong — Landscape Painter Dead At 35

His works were compared to that of van Gogh.

How Did Matthew Wong Die? Landscape Painter Dead At 35 By Suicide instagram

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we could also say the same goes for art. There are all sorts of art styles and forms — painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture. Even literature, photography, and films are considered a type of art. 

Making art is also a great way to express yourself, but sometimes, that message can be shrouded in darkness.

At the beginning of the month, we lost a talented up-and-coming artist, Matthew Wong. At just 35 years old, Wong had been suffering from depression, Tourette’s syndrome, and autism. Still, he was critically-acclaimed for his landscape paintings.


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How did Matthew Wong die? On October 2, the artist took his own life in Edmonton, Alberta.

Born in 1984 in Toronto, he and his family moved to Hong Kong, and by the time he was 15, they returned to Canada to support their son’s treatment for autism. He received his degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography from City University of Hong Kong.

Eventually, Wong became dissatisfied with just being a photographer and experimented with drawing. 


In 2014, he told Neoteric Art, “Even towards the end of my degree I felt I had gained no real skills or prospects that could take me forward in the professional world. [In 2012] I considered drawing for the first time — maybe as a last resort to find something to hold on to. At first I just bought a cheap sketch pad along with a bottle of ink and made a mess every day in my bathroom randomly pouring ink onto pages — smashing them together — hoping something interesting was going to come out of it. Pretty soon that was the only activity that sustained me in my daily routine.”

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That same year was when he began painting landscapes and started posted his work to Facebook. This outreach grabbed the attention of Matthew Higgs, the curator and director of White Columns Gallery, which is “New York City’s oldest alternative non-profit space.”

Wong eventually had exhibitions in New York and Hong Kong, and had collections included in the Aishti Foundation, the Estée Lauder Collection, and the Dallas Museum of Art. In fact, critics compared his art canvases to Vincent van Gogh and Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin.


Of his show at the Karma gallery in June 2018, critic Eric Sutphin wrote, “Wong can be considered a kind of nouveau Nabi ... a descendant of Post-Impressionist painters like Édouard Vuillard and Paul Sérusier. Like his forebears, he synthesizes stylized representations, bright colors and mystical themes to create rich, evocative scenes. His works, despite their ebullient palette, are frequently tinged with a melancholic yearning.”



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But behind the scenes, Wong’s family knew he continued to struggle with depression. In a phone interview with the New York Times, his mother revealed, “He would just tell me, ‘You know, Mom, my mind, I’m fighting with the Devil every single day, every waking moment of my life.’” She also recalled how exciting it was when he sold his first piece, adding, “He was so proud of himself because he’d always been dependent on his parents.”

His second solo show, “Blue,” is set to open next month at Karma.


We hope he’s finally at peace.

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.