In the Loop
Alumni News : Feb 2, 2017

Ceramics alumnus brings worlds alive at Orlando’s leading theme parks

By Casey Wooster

In the studio, creating narratives and futuristic imaginary worlds always fascinated School of Art + Art History alumnus Matt Hill (BFA Ceramics ’14), but Hill never imagined that he would be bringing such fantasy worlds alive for the millions of visitors at Orlando’s leading theme parks.

“I had no idea that this industry existed,” said Hill, a sculpture supervisor for KHS&S Contractors in Orlando, Florida.

An international design-assist specialty building company, KHS&S Contractors fabricates spectacular interiors and exteriors for casino resorts, hospitals, hotels and theme parks around the world.

“My first project was Disney Springs where we sculpted and the deadfall and banks of the manmade spring that flows through the shopping center,” described Hill. “Next, I was a part of making the log cabin (made of stucco) and mountain at the Frozen attraction in Epcot.”

Hill travels the country bouncing between projects and crews of faux finish, theme painters and carvers.

One of Hill’s favorite projects includes serving as art director for Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he helped build a two story "dock bar" around a volcano that erupts margarita mix every hour to a Jimmy Buffet song.

“The work is really hard at times, but being able to make art that millions of people will interact with is more than worth it,” expressed Hill.

Currently, Hill is working on sculpting an array of Angkor Wat themed architectural elements at Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay, a water theme park due to open in May 2017.

Hill credits the communication and critical skills learned from the UF Ceramics program for enabling him to share his vision with the team of artists he leads.

See more of Hill’s work at