Today we’re excited to introduce you to Elizabeth Gauss and Matt Struck. Matt and Elizabeth are a pair of Visual Artists/Filmmakers and are also content partners. . Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this. Check out our conversation with Matt and Elizabeth below.
Elizabeth, Matt, it’s been too long since we last connected. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with our community again. Some readers might have missed our prior conversations, so maybe you can kick things off for us with a quick intro?
Elizabeth Gauss: I am an artist, with a focus primarily on abstraction, based in Denver CO. I currently teach k-5 general art at an elementary school in Commerce City. I began my creative journey as a classical french horn player but shifted my focus after an injury sustained in a car accident affected my ability to be competitive as a symphony musician.
Matt Struck: I am a filmmaker and comedy writer. Coincidentally I also started out in music,
I was an experimental musician for about 8 years and after touring and performing to a lot of empty rooms, I realized I needed a change.
Are you working on any new series or films?
Matt: Yes! Art ShowTM is my newest endeavor, a limited series following me and Elizabeth as we experiment with Reality Tv/Documentary/ to document our daily lives as artists. We will be previewing the pilot this fall and releasing the full series later this year.
Elizabeth: ArtShowTM is my primary focus as far as film, although I have been known to contribute to Really Late Night with Matt Struck as a cast member and guest writer.
For your new show “Art Show Tm” what has been different about having a co-producer to make the film?
Elizabeth: Since my background is in classical music, I thrive in collaborative environments. My happiest times as a musician were in small chamber ensembles, when artists come together without a conductor to create a singular vision. The vibe Matt and I have cultivated reminds me heavily of that type of flow.
Matt: I enjoy it, and it has been a learning experience. I think since our friendship is built on a foundation of understanding, trust, and vulnerability, it has allowed us to share a very authentic glimpse into our lives. It’s also a good ego check for me to remember that I’m not the only one with good ideas, haha.
How are you approaching making a film about sobriety and the healing properties of making art?
Elizabeth: For me the only way forward with my recovery is the path of authenticity. My disease is one that requires my silence and my shame. To shine a light on it is to defeat it. It is my great hope that this project will find a receptive audience, but as I have often quoted, regarding creating art: ‘once the [project] is out of my hands, it is none of my business.’
Matt: My recovery requires me to look at all sides of myself, the good and the bad; the past and the present, and I believe Art ShowTM is an extension of the self improvement that has allowed me to experience 5 years of sobriety.
What is like handling delicate subjects like alcoholism, trauma, recovery, eating disorders, and mental health?
Elizabeth: That is a good question! One thing I try to make sure is to take care that I am telling my own story and not someone else’s. I also made the decision early on not to show any pictures of myself when I was really sick with my eating disorder in this project. I am hyper mindful, and over protective of the effect that showing that image might potentially have on folks that are going through their own eating disorder, or body image struggles, so I have intentionally only presented myself as I am today, a person in (an imperfect) recovery.
Matt: We are also really diligent about not romanticizing our past behaviors. Elizabeth has a great line in Episode 1 about getting rid of the concept of the tortured artist, you don’t have to be in pain to make art. I have found that once I quit drinking my creativity grew tenfold. We also try to balance our show with funny/light moments with such heavy topics.
Do you have any advice for new filmmakers who want to offer their own experience up to a film or documentary?
Keep exploring ideas and themes but once you find the core of your story and find a note you want to hit, follow those themes to completion. Also stay patient, movies take a long time to make and good movies take even longer.
What are the secrets to having a healthy collaboration?
Matt: Keep the lines of communication open and clear. Also, be willing to be flexible, it reminds me of that Tanzanian Proverb: “The wind does not break the tree that bends.”
Elizabeth: We are really friends, and we put our friendship first!
Thank you so much again for sharing all of this with us. Before we go, can you share with our readers how they can connect with you, learn more or show support?
- Website: mattstrucktures.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/912991629567701
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matt-struck-b03aab13/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/reallylatenight
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS1tApvuVoVx59e0-4MOxqg
Nicolas Turner, Elizabeth Gauss