Context

It’s amazing how a name and a little bit of context can allow you to find someone you met once over 10 years ago.

In 2001 I was a student at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and one day in the beginning of the Fall semester there was an art sale where I picked up this painting by Matt Dobson named, “The Sky is Falling.”

The Sky is Falling by Matt Dobson

I hung it on the wall in my apartment, in the house my wife and I rented shortly after getting married, and then in the house we both live in now.

Yesterday I was painting the room where it was hanging and I noticed the author’s name was on the painting so I wondered if I could find him online.

I initially searched for: Matt Dobson artist the sky is falling. This was a poor choice as it didn’t assume the “Matt” and “Dobson” should always be together and that he would be talking about the painting, “A Sky is Falling” in any sort of manner online.

I realized that I knew more about the artist than just his name and the name of his painting. I knew he went to Ball State, just like me, so I switched my search term to: “Matt Dobson” Ball State artist. I used “artist” as a qualifier against other Matt Dobson’s from Ball State.

This worked.

I was able to find Matt’s blog bio where he talked about graduating from Ball State. After all that work of searching I was a little let down to find his blog located at mattdobson.com, which a cursory search for “Matt Dobson” lists as the #1 search result. Any noobie search user could have probably found him much more faster than I did, but that’s why Google is a level playing field. You don’t have to be a librarian to find what you need on Google, but it can help.

Since Matt had a contact page, I decided to email him a picture of his painting and tell him the story of how I bought it and what it’s been doing for the last 10 years:

Matt,

I’m pretty sure I bought this painting from you in the summer of 2001 at the Ball State Art Yard Sale and I’ve had it hanging in my home for about 10 years. I just wanted to share with you that it’s still around and wanted to let you have a picture of it in case you wanted it for your portfolio or something. Not everyone had a digital camera in their pocket back then.

And Matt wrote back:

Erich,

Wow. Thank you. It is really great to know you have enjoyed that piece for so long. I didn’t remember that particular piece it is very strange to see it after so long.

I don’t know if you had a chance to see the design work I am doing now on my website but I am also still pursuing art and you can see some photos of my most recent show here: http://mattdobson.com/Stirring-Art-Show

Thanks again for sending that my way.

Best,
Matt

I encourage you to check out Matt’s art as he’s doing some really great stuff. It highlights the amazing talent we have here in the Midwest.

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