- Matt Austin
A self-taught artisan who works well under deadline, Matt Austin often gets summoned for what he terms “paint emergencies”—when someone has mistaken a faux-marble paint job for real stone and polished through a patch of it, or when a store needs a wall painted to look just like plywood and finished within three days. (This happened at the Marc Jacobs outpost on Bleecker Street.) Austin got his start doing decorative work for friends and relatives, and these days he has clients who fly him to Europe to paint their homes, but he’s not averse to doing a small $500 panel in between those $50,000 gold-leaf-mural jobs. He can do stripes (he once painted an elaborately patterned portico that required a quarter-mile of painter’s tape) and detailed pastoral scenes, and has turned children’s rooms into playful landscapes filled with hot-air balloons and palm trees. What’s he working on now? Oh, just a mural of hyperrealistic birds and butterflies on chinoiserie branches painted in doped copper—which makes the branches turn luminescent blue in the dark.
Best Decorative Painter
From the 2013 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).