About the artist
Wasef Matias began studying Coptic iconography in 1987. He has a Master of Arts degree in Coptic Art from the Institute for Coptic Studies in Cairo, Egypt. Matias spent an additional five years in the studio of the Egyptian master Dr. Isaac Fanous, where he was exposed to and trained in the more contemporary or neo-Coptic form of iconongraphy. This style of sacred iconography draws heavily on its Pharoanic artist's heritage as well as on modern art theory. In 1991, Wasef began his career by installing mosaics and icons in churches and monasteries throughout Egypt, England, Canada and the United States.
He currently lectures and demonstrates coptic art at universities, schools and art councils in the United States and is one of the few qualified iconographers working in the Coptic tradition.
The artist is available for commissoned iconic and mosaic work internationally. Please use the
contact form to request a consultation.
The art of icongraphy was started with the intention of educating converts to the Church. With the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine (307-337AD) to christianity, many christian converts had diffculty understanding the biblical teachings and their spiritual meanings, so the early church leaders permitted the use of icons to help them to understand christianity and its doctrines.
As an integral part of Coptic worship, icons are used to inspire and teach the faithful the mysteries of the christian church; thus, we can say than iconography is not merely art but visual theolgy.
What is Tempera Paint
Tempera or "egg tempera" is a type of paint made from mixing powered pigments with egg yolks. Tempera pigments usually come from natural sources such as minerals, wood, plants or clay. Because tempera dries right away, artists must apply it quickly with small brushstrokes. Rapid drying also makes it difficult to change or correct the painting later.
Tempera is the oldest paint known and was used in wall paintings of ancient Egypt, Babylonia and Greece. Tempera remained popular, especially in early Renaissance Italy, until the development of oil paints in the 15th century.
Today's tempera paints are very different than tempera paints of the past. The tempera paints many of us use in school are not made by grinding pigments and cracking eggs. Bottled tempera paints are popular paints for elementary students and beyond because of their bright, washable colors.
Workshops offered by the artist
Making artistic instruction available to all regardless of the level of experience and accomplishment is my goal. Workshops are easily adapted to accomodate the various levels of expertise and are designed for theninexperience and accomplishment of the workshop attendees. My workshops are esily adapted Both one-time workshops and a more extensive series of workshops are offered.
Each workshop consists of
- a brief introduction of the history of egg tempera and gold leaf application to mosiac icongraphy;
- a detailed explanation of the different materials used and the specific techiniques required to complete one's own piece of art; and
- an in-depth demonstration and hands-on participation by attendees.
Please contact the artist for group rates or individual lessons.