Art
Matt King: Forever our Wizard
Remembering our beloved friend, Matt King.
BY
Joshua Davisson
July 21, 2022
Photo by Kate Russell

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A hyperbolic lightning-rainbow-summer breeze combo graced the Earth when Matthew Warren King was born in Dallas, TX on September 6, 1984. Matt was a child of adventure, joy, and creativity who could transform even the barest of rooms into a stupendous circus fort with just a handful of thumb tacks, a few sheets and pillows, a tall glass of imagination, some drywall putty, half charged power tools, discarded hair curlers, no less than five issues of highlights magazine, and an old extension cord missing one end.


an altar with a framed photo of Matt King along with flowers, stickers, and other momentos
one person in all black facing a brightly colored arch with photos and notes attached and two people embracing to the right
Offering altars from memorial services. Photos by Cara Mandel

young Matt King shirtless canoeing
Photo of young Matt in canoe - Matt at Camp Carter, Fort Worth, TX

teenage Matt King standing with a friend, both dressed nicely maybe for a school dance
Matt and Josh Davisson, 18, in downtown Fort Worth, TX

Matt was a force of love, creativity, kindness, warmth, excitement, curiosity, humor, and joy. As if all the best friends and best people you know were rolled into a single wizardly form, bursting at the seams with magic and zest. He possessed a gravity that could pull anyone into his orbit, with a unique ability to make each and every person he met feel special and seen, regardless of the duration spent with him. He was beloved and admired by all.

DJ Dirt Girl (aka co-founder Emily Montoya) on stage at FancyTown with people in the crowd with their hands up
DJ Dirt Girl AKA MW Co-founder Emily Montoya Playing a DJ set in Matt’s honor at House of Eternal Return 2022, Photo by Cara Mandel

teenage Matt King in a red knit hat yelling at the camera in a room filled with multi-colored paint on the walls
Matt during an early Meow Wolf install, 2008

Matt was a true philosopher, a constant seeker of knowledge and truth. He was curious and thorough, leaving no stone unturned, instead leaving with awe and a thirst for more wisdom to fill his philosopher’s chalice. To Matt, the world and universe around him were filled with wonder and intrigue and no one was better equipped to explore its majesty and mystery than this caped wizard with color changing eye-glasses.

Matt King with short curly dark hair standing in front of the Navigator in Convergence Station, a large machine inside a boulder
Matt King in front of Mech II at Convergence Station, Photo by Kate Russell

Matt was a free-spirited guide to all he knew and encountered, a friend of the highest order. To be hugged and loved by Matt was a unique and singular experience. To feel seen and honored by Matt was life changing. To laugh with Matt was to participate in joy, unbound. Unbound because there were no limits to where he would apply his humor. Cars breaking down, broken toes, quarterly financial reports, wardrobe malfunctions, undercooked poultry, setting up a sleeping bag in an ant pile in the middle of the night, multidimensional existential philosophy. No subject was spared from his unique brand of levity.

Matt in dark clothes standing in front of an in-progress Cathedral inside Convergence Station
Matt on site for Convergence Station build, 2021

a piece of neon colored artwork with bright lighting in pink, green, and blue over the painting. The painting is on a brown wooden chair with nothing else in the frame except a bouquet of flowers on the floor.
Photo of Matt's art at service - ‘Untitled’ Matt King painting/neon, 2022

Matt’s love for art and creation cannot be understated. He was an abundant artist who created electricity and jubilation. His appreciation of beauty and excellence was infectious, inviting all around him to participate in creation and wonder. With the help of many scrappy friends, he founded the art collective turned immersive experience company Meow Wolf, where he was a Senior Vice President of Creative Direction. Though a true leader in the company, inspiring all who worked with him, he was just as well known for applying ceiling glitter and hauling post-install trash to the dumpsters.

three men standing inside the bus that is now inside the House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe. The guy on the left is smoking a cigarette through the sun hole and the guy in the middle is sitting on the bus seat
Left to right: Chris Hilson, Geoff Banzhoff and Matt King in the school bus for House of Eternal Return, 2016

Matt King in a black cowboy hat, dressed nicely in a white shirt and pants, is looking down at his mother, who has cropped blonde hair and is wearing a yellow sweater with jeans. They are standing in front of the Cathedral at Convergence Station in Denver.
Matt and his mom Mitzi inside the Cathedral for Convergence Station, 2018

Matt adored his family. He was a playful brother who looked up to his sibling with admiration and was the perfect lifelong adventure companion, never failing to make time to spend each summer canoeing with his brother, forming that unique sibling bond that endures for all time. He was a loving son who never failed to kiss and squeeze his mother. He was close to her throughout his life the way a mother and newborn exist: In a state of unshakeable connection. He cherished his father, hanging onto every word for the life lessons pouring from an endless well of humor and wisdom. Though he occasionally questioned his father’s love for cheap beer, he found wisdom in that as well.

Corvas Brinkherhoff, Matt King, Benji Geary, Emily Montoya, Sean Di Ianni and Caity Kennedy at the opening of Convergence Station, 2021
Left to right: Corvas Brinkherhoff, Matt King, Benji Geary, Emily Montoya, Sean Di Ianni and Caity Kennedy at the opening of Convergence Station, 2021

Matt King on a horse out in the desert with red rocks behind him and dry bushes all around
Matt in Moab September 2021

Matt in a dark hat kissing his fiancé Han with a lake and snow-capped mountain behind them
Matt and fiancée Han Santana-Sayles, 2021

Matt King was a passionate lover who never failed to express his tenderness, yearning, and devotion. He was charming, sincere, and curious. His union was sacred, transcending time and space. His love will continue endlessly, in future lives and across infinite universes.

Matt lived fully, intensely, and fearlessly. He was wild and courageous, and yet gentle and thoughtful. He was classically handsome, beautiful to behold, and…exhilarating to sniff. He lived and loved like a mythical hero seeking to change the world with love and creativity until the day his physical form could no longer contain such powerful transformative energy.

black and white photo of Matt King without a shirt, hair pulled back in a ponytail, with lots of angular pieces in the background
Matt working on Meow Wolf install, Gelatin Silver Print, Date unknown

Matt transcended from this physical realm at the tragically young age of 37 on July 9, 2022 in Santa Fe, NM. He was survived by his adoring mother Mitzi King, his brother Michael King, sister in law Emily King, and his beautiful fiancée Han Santana-Sayles. He was preceded in death by his father Randy King, who is waiting for Matt in the Hereafter with open arms and a bright smile. And a miller high life.

Matt will be dearly missed, but his memory will galvanize the bond we shared with him. Matt will live on in our hearts. We will know him when we see him. A gentle bird, singing us a comforting tune. A brilliant crack of lightning, illuminating the sky and reminding us to look up into the universe. A beautiful double rainbow, arching over us like his arms wrapping around us for a hug. A warm summer breeze, like his hand on our shoulder, encourages us to keep going. We love you, Matt.

“You can do anything. Be Radically generous. Scream into the Night. Be untamable. Be Someone’s rock. Hold On.” -Caity Kennedy, Design by Luke Dorman.

Resources:

  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 or message 443-SUP-PORT on WhatsApp for 24/7, anonymous, free crisis counseling.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call (multiple languages) or text (English only) 988 for 24/7, anonymous, free crisis counseling. PLEASE NOTE: 988 is linked to nonconsensual active rescue which means that they have the ability to trace calls and send police, but only if they deem it necessary.
  • Grief and Loss Resources from the American Counseling Association
  • Resources for Survivors of Suicide Loss

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