Karl Mattson

“Port Hole” – Photograph on Aluminium


“Mattson’s Life Pods are self-contained breathing apparatus, like portable bomb shelters: one to hold a small family, one—which also happens to be Mattson’s own future coffin—to hold one person, and a third, which is still under construction.

“I’m not totally anti-industry,” Mattson said, “but I do think there needs to be better safety, better transparency with the infrastructure that’s put in—with the companies, with the community. I think there should be more public awareness of what’s actually happening under the ground, what things are made of, and regular updates, not just farmer-to-farmer. I think it should be [public meetings]. … regulations are set by government but, I think it’s just not transparent enough for the rural resident. … I’ve actually asked for why can’t we have basic survival equipment here on my farm, and an alarm system for certain percentages of H2S that waft through, or if there’s a leak, so we can take care of ourselves. Because there are safety checks along the lines but they don’t always work, we know that from South of Pouce, there was a big incident there. A quarter of a mile from here there was a leak of a surface casing, that was very serious, an H2S monitor went off in my house.

Raised on the eroding banks of Rolla Creek, as a fifth generation farmer who lives in the South Peace, Karl Mattson is a self-taught, multi-media artist.  Karl’s life has been fuelled by his compulsion to create and speak through art, which has always played a central role in his life.

Karl’s current explorations include large metal sculpture and mixed media, and in particular, scavenging scraps and materials that surround his farm and community, an area currently being enveloped by the oil and gas industry.  In using the creative process, Karl has been able to apply his artistic talent to protest against the environmental issues that plague his farm, his community, and his personal psyche.

For more information about the artist, check out: www.karlmattson.net