• UO Interviews: Matt Ching


    When catching us up to speed on his background as an artist and filmmaker, Matt Ching quotes a fellow Hawaiian, DJ Anton Glamb: "I think [he] explained it, 'Born and raised in Hawaii, worn and torn in NYC.'" Matt was raised in Kaneohe, Oahu, and now splits his time between Hawaii and New York, where he works on various videography and direction projects, including music videos, fashion lookbooks, and a bunch of other side projects. We caught up with him about how he's currently spending his time. 

    Above: Matt's music video for Brogan Bentley

    You work in so many different disciplines! Can you tell us more about the current projects you’re working on?
    As a self-proclaimed extreme procrastinator, I’m pretty behind on all the projects I’ve shot in the beginning of the year so I’m hoping my first winter in NYC will knock me into an editing submission. Right now I'm working on some videos I've put a good portion of my summer into. The one I’ve poured my heart and soul into is the music video for Brogan Bentley. The song is a reflection on a past love that slipped away and the painful emotions we feel during these moments stuck in limbo before the healing process begins. Chet asked me to make his video at the same time I was going through the exact circumstances the song characterizes so I immediately felt obligated to dive my feelings deep into the project. On a lighter note…I’m also in post-production with two fashion lookbook videos I shot in Hawaii that are fun and not bursting with emotional metaphoric symbology. I think it’s good for the brain to have some projects that just get to play with aesthetics and nothing more.

    Do you see a connection between filmmaking and your formal education in architecture? 
    My primary medium these days is video, especially music videos. There is something about the dance between audio and visual that can incarnate and express emotions more articulately than any other medium. Before I got into making videos I worked in different visual mediums. I have a Bachelor's degree in architecture... I was intrigued by its ability to shape the human environment. It’s an art that you can live and breathe. The only problem for me was that it’s so darn slow. I can’t wait years upon years to see my work finished. My ideas are pretty fleeting and I’d probably be over it by the time any buildings were actually erected. That's another reason why I love making videos so much. The duration of my creative attention span is roughly the same amount of time it takes for me to see a video project from start to finish. Then I move on to the next.

    Above: a lookbook video for Moon Collective

    You split time between NYC and Hawaii. What's that like? How does the contrast inspire your work and affect the way you approach new projects?
    It’s kind of the best. I’m pretty head over heels for Hawaii. I feel like I started a whole new relationship with the islands after I moved back from college in SF. The Pacific Ocean has me whipped. Hawaii is everything my body and soul needs, but NYC has got the goods for my mind. Everything is blasting on a whole different level out here. Most of the artists I look up to live in New York and there is an infinitely larger amount of work for me here than there is in Hawaii."


    Can you talk more about the Hawaiian creative community?
    I lived in Hawaii for two years after I graduated from college and I feel like I just started making all these amazing friends involved in the local artist community in the last six months before I moved to NYC. It’s a tight-knit community and everyone is killing it. You can feel there is a strong motivation to put Honolulu on the map as a respected breeding ground for the arts. In a few years Honolulu is going to be blowing up... I feel bad because I definitely want to grow old in Hawaii and it’s going to seem like I’m jumping on the future bandwagon to flock to Honolulu once its fully established, but right now I need to go out into the world and enrich myself with skills and experiences...which sounds increasingly more douchey as I continue put together this sentence.

    Above: Matt's first music video, Promise Johannesburg

    What does a typical Tuesday look like for you?
    Lately in New York I’ve been waking up at dawn which is the absolute opposite of my usual sleeping tendencies but I kind of dig it. I’ll make some tea with thundering amounts of caffeine, check my emails, and look at weird stuff on the Internet. Then I’ll go skate with my roommate Zack downtown or somewhere far away from our saggy apartment. Then I come back home, take a nap, then start editing on the current project at hand. Now it's dark outside and I can either choose to leave the house and spend a lot of money consuming drinks at some hip new bar or sink under my blankets...The same applies to my life in Hawaii except trade skateboarding with surfing.

    Even though Hawaii is so idyllic…where do you go to escape?
    This one is easy. I go to NYC.

    Above: Matt's photo project, Kosmos

    What are your favorite Hawaiian haunts? And what about NYC?
    My favorite Hawaiian haunt was 39 Hotel [a Chinatown bar that closed earlier this year], but that's no longer real and we have to move on. My disco DJ friends throw parties at a secret loft in Chinatown, which have hosted some of the best times I’ve had in Hawaii. Other than that I would say Bevy Bar in Kaka’ako is one of the best watering holes in Honolulu.

    In NYC, I haven’t really figured out my favorites quite yet. I usually wander around LES, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick. Pretty much all the zones you would expect someone who wears tacky aloha shirts to frequent. The Surf Bar in Williamsburg is cool because half of my friends from Hawaii are the staff. In Bushwick I like Bossa Nova because they play good music and they have the most amazing complimentary cucumber-infused water. I usually just drink a bunch of water and leave feeling the most hydrated I’ve ever been in my life. 

    Keep up with Matt's work on his website, Vimeo, and on Instagram
    Visit the new UO Hawaii store in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Atrium, 2424 Kalakaua Ave