Matt Lamb was once a successful Chicago businessman, owning a chain of Chicago-based funeral homes. In his fifties, he was diagnosed with a terminal illness, which inspired him to sell his business and teach himself to paint.
Working in a variety of media, from oil paintings on canvas to concrete panels, often in quite large scale, Lamb painted both representational and abstract pieces. He opened his first studio in Chicago in 1986, and soon opened studios in Florida, Wisconsin, Mettlach and Paris. In 1994, Lamb became President of Midwest Patrons of the Arts, Vatican Museum, and Director of Vatican Museum Foundation, New York. In 2003, he created his tallest work of art in the peace chapel of the parish church of St Martin in Tünsdorf, Saarland, Germany. Mary, Queen of Peace is one of the largest frescos in Europe with a painted surface of 120 m.
Though Lamb later discovered he had been misdiagnosed, he decided to continue working as an artist, feeling led by a higher power and that he was creating for the benefit of others. Producing work at an extremely rapid rate, Lamb painted tens of thousands of pieces, many of which he sold to fund peace and healing initiatives around the world.
After the 9/11 attacks, Lamb established a global art project called Umbrellas for Peace, providing children with a means of dealing with their traumatic experiences by decorating umbrellas with their fears on the underside and their dreams on the top, representing their personal values of world peace. A public parade with the umbrellas then takes place. This project has expanded throughout the world, with more than 300,000 children having painted umbrellas for peace.