Nils Matthies is an artist working and living in Munich, Germany.

Nils studied Management in Rotterdam and Art at Parsons in New York experimenting with a wide range of media. 

However, he came to realize that spray paint has some properties that no other media can match; additionally he had already developed a fair amount of intuition and experience with spray paint, so that it seemed natural to continue with that medium.

Inspired by what other artists - such as Gerhard Richter and Wolfgang Tillmans - had done with taking the medium itself as their subject, he developed spray paint itself as the main theme and motivation of his paintings. At the same time he was working in management consulting for Siemens and was impressed with their systematic and analytical approach. In exploring the medium spray paint he tried to apply a similar systematic rigor.


Since 2011 he moved into his own studio close to Theresienwiese, Munich and worked exclusively on this subject.

Can you describe the systematic approach you use in painting?

I paint by layering spray paint on different supports ranging from canvas, cardboard and paper, to aluminium plates. The paint is applied in discreet layers that vary in terms of thickness, drying time and color. Spray paint dries quickly and leaves only a small window of opportunity to shape the painting through scraping, folding, pressing, and subtracting paint which is the reason why I preeminently paint in one go, “alla prima”. The paintings are non figurative while the color compositions are chosen for their formal qualities and aesthetic resonance.



The distinction between the factors that he controls, hence his involvement in the painting and the elements deliberately delegated to chance is an important notion in all paintings. The actual patterns and compositions in some paintings are chance, in others he has intervened. Where pure chance has taken place the characteristics of the medium composes the painting (viscosity, drying time, etc.). He chooses to delegate aspects of the paintings, mainly the composition, deliberately to chance where he as a painter does not want or cannot take well informed decisions. Where he has intervened it becomes clearly visible, giving the viewer the opportunity to assess the impact that he has on the painting and the materials used. He leaves it to the viewer to judge what this effort has done to the painting and what the effects of this intervention are.


Nils also takes commissions. So if you are interested in having something done especially for you and your unique space, do get in touch.

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