Caia Matheson

Portrait of Caia Matheson in her Brighton studio Caia Matheson is an award-winning contemporary oil painter based in Brighton, UK. 26 September 2014 Photograph taken by Simon Dack

Caia Matheson at LAPADA Berkeley Square



Caia Matheson is an award-winning contemporary oil painter based in Brighton, UK. She was born in Johannesburg and educated in Tokyo and London. As a child Caia was fascinated by the Lowly worm in the Richard Scarry books. She loved scouring each page to seek out that worm, and when she found it would feel most content – as if she had discovered a piece of secret truth that would uncover all the answers to her questions about the universe. There are some Lowly worms in Caia’s abstracts – albeit in symbolic form.

Caia is inspired by wabi sabi, or the beauty of imperfection. She loves to mix paint mediums and experiment with the effects. This can be the most exciting part of the creative process. Her mediums are oils – tubes of oil paint, oil bars, oil pastels and mixtures of oil paints and dyes. She enjoys the texture consistency and smell of them. Caia paints with her hands and washing-up sponges onto canvases laid flat on the floor. It is a physical process.

“My work is about words and verse from all sources such as radio plays audio books stories song lyrics and poetry. I get such great pictures from words and translate them into my work as a visual narrative. I begin painting with a specific colour that I have in my mind’s eye. I then introduce other colours and begin to build layers on the canvas. These layers are then scratched off and layered over again like a palimpsest literally meaning ‘scraped clean and used again’. I love the idea of previous markings that are not visible but are still an inherent part of the composition.”

The layers are designed in a way to expose different subjects of the composition. These subjects are buried in the dark and light spaces and come out and disappear as the light changes presenting different aspects depending on shifting light conditions and mood.

“I consider each successive layer a generation to populate or depopulate the canvas as needed and create my own world as I go.  I like to create a world within worlds.”

Nominations & Awards

Painted Europe’s First Rainbow Pedestrian Crossing UK 2014

Painting selected by author Neil Gaiman for book A Calendar of Tales 2013.

Winner Brighton Artist of the Year UK 2004.

Nominated for the Ambassadors Art Prize Belgium 2005.

Nominated for the Women’s Art Show Basingstoke UK 2005.

Short listed for the Brighton Festival Art Prize UK 2004

Caia has also exhibited alongside Billy Childish, Jamie Reid, Yohji Yamamoto, Sir Paul McCartney