Man hailed as ‘new Picasso’ discovered incredible talent after traumatic crash

A man who first picked up a paintbrush after being in a traumatic crash has now unearthed an incredible talent and is being dubbed the ‘new Picasso’.

Matthew Rutherford, 39, was the passenger in a car that was involved in a high-speed collision, and now he can’t speak as he suffered brain damage as the result of the crash.

He lives in supported accommodation in Derby, with his trusty companion Chips the cat, and to pass the time over lockdown Matthew began painting.

Now his dramatic work covers every inch of his flat, and Matthew has been compared to Picasso by the art galleries that stock his work.

Using a special app on his phone to type, Matthew said: “I couldn’t read, talk or write so I did drawings as a way of communicating.

“Dr Andrew James from the Nuffield Hospital, who was my doctor when I was in residential healthcare in Leeds, taught me how to paint feelings and thoughts.

“Painting helps me to communicate feelings and thoughts.”

Matthew says his paintings – which he calls ‘”Art from a Locked-In Mind” – aim to show how he feels and each work represents a story or a memory, with many of them venting his frustration at being unable to communicate as he once could.

The dad-of-one paints using several sorts of paints and colours, including oils and acrylics, and covers canvases of every size.

With a brush, a cigarette, a cup of tea and Chips by his side, he paints almost every day and sometimes will complete a painting overnight, sometimes getting only three to four hours of sleep.

His flat is covered with several finished pieces of work both big and small, but he maintains incredibly high standards and any artwork he is not happy with is quickly thrown away.

He added: “My family are very proud, and my dad feels very proud, and I feel happy about it too! When I’m painting I just imagine seeing my work in a book. I want to let the world see my work.”

With the help of Headway, a brain injury charity based in Derby, Matthew is now set to have 50 of his works exhibited at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery on The Strand in October.

Previously, his work was showcased in a virtual exhibition at the Brick Lane Gallery in London in September 2020.

One staff member at Brick Lane said of his work: “Every time I look at it, I can’t help but think Picasso. Some of these shapes, colours and objects in the background of Matthew’s work remind me so much of Pablo Picasso.”