|First appearance||"Don't Look Back"|
|Last appearance||"Brave New World"|
|Portrayed by||Greg Grunberg|
|Children||Matt Parkman Jr.|
Telepathy, resulting in:
Matthew "Matt" Parkman, Sr., is a fictional character of the NBC science fiction serial drama Heroes, played by Greg Grunberg. Matt is a police officer, who works for the LAPD and NYPD in Seasons One and Two respectively. He is a telepath; his ability allows him to read minds, and eventually extends into aspects of mind control, as stated by Bob Bishop.
Matt Parkman is a police officer with the LAPD. He tried to become a detective, but had flunked the exam three times due to dyslexia. Parkman is a mind-reader; he can hear the thoughts of people around him. He first realizes this after hearing the thoughts of Molly Walker, a girl who was hiding from a serial killer named Sylar.
He is nearly arrested by his FBI partner, but then is able to later prove his ability to read thoughts. He is then offered a position in the investigation. Things turn dangerous when a man who appears to be Sylar shows up. Stopping the man from harming Molly, Matt tries to comfort her while Audrey, the FBI agent, gives chase. Ultimately, the man escapes, but not before displaying apparent telekinesis and standing after being shot. Later, Matt comes home to his wife, Janice.
Matt escapes to a bar after a heated argument with his wife and hears the thoughts of the various patrons. However, when he encounters a patron, a tall silent black man, whose mind he cannot read, the other voices fade out. The man sits and stares at Matt until Matt falls unconscious.
Matt wakes up strapped to a table with Mr. Bennet standing over him. Bennet explains that they had to drug him, and that he works for a secret company. Matt tries to read Bennet's mind, but is unable to due to The Haitian, who was the man at the bar. Matt is still able to discern the name of Bennet's daughter, Claire, impressing Bennet with his developing power. The Haitian then wipes Matt's memories of being drugged and abducted by Bennet.
Matt wakes up a day later, suffering from what he thinks is a hangover. His wife Janice tells him he has been missing and was worried. He uses his ability to listen to her thoughts and give her everything she wants, healing the rift between the two of them.
The following day at work, Matt and his partner at the FBI run down a possible lead on Sylar after discovering a charred corpse with a fingerprint. Instead of Sylar, they find a man with radioactive powers. In a stand off, Matt defuses the situation by allowing the man to speak with his comatose wife. At the end of the day, Matt is informed by his old partner that he was being given another chance to apply for a detective position. Matt happens to read the man's mind, discovering that he is sleeping with Janice. Matt punches his former partner and is consequently suspended.
Unaware of this, Audrey asks Matt for assistance in interviewing Ted Sprague, the man who radiates nuclear power. Matt talks with him and discovers that, like himself, Ted was abducted from a bar after seeing the Haitian and woke up later with amnesia. He further discovers similar marks on their necks. Then, Homeland Security takes Ted into custody before Matt can learn more, but Ted tells Matt to "find the Haitian." Audrey later notifies Matt that Ted has escaped. Matt and Audrey then investigate a crime scene at Union Wells High in Odessa, Texas, where they suspect Sylar was intercepted by two people nearby. They don't consider Peter Petrelli a suspect in Jackie's death, but interrogate him and learn that Sylar's target was the cheerleader Claire Bennet.
Matt later attempts to read Claire's mind when she is being interviewed. However, he is unable to hear anything except static, which also happened to him before he was abducted. Suspicious, he and Audrey stake out Primatech Paper and Matt recognizes The Haitian. He attempts to overhear Mr. Bennet or the Haitian's thoughts and is able to pick up just one word: "Sylar."
For the next two weeks, Matt keeps a close watch on Primatech Paper, but he is seen on cameras. Finally, in "Godsend," Matt and Audrey organize a raid of Primatech. When they find nothing, their boss is very upset and threatens to fire Audrey. Fearful of losing her job, she tells Matt their partnership is over. Matt confronts Bennet, telling him he knows he was kidnapped and will make Bennet pay.
Matt faces a review board that questions his details of the past few weeks. They find his references to a "super-powered serial killer" almost insane. Matt recants his statement after hearing it will save his job. However, Matt is suspended for six months. At home, Matt takes a job as a bodyguard for money. His assignment is Aron Malsky, a man who stole $2 million from Linderman as restitution. Upon learning the jeweler is on Linderman's payroll, they try to run, but Jessica comes to kill Aron for Linderman. After a fight, Jessica throws Matt out of a window and onto a sign girder before proceeding to tear Aron in half. Malsky had hidden diamonds in the ceiling shortly before he died. Matt finds them and keeps them.
In "Unexpected", Matt receives a call from Ted, who wants to meet Matt along with Hana Gitelman. Hana informs Matt of Primatech and the connection to their abductions and the markings on their necks. Ted wants to confront Mr. Bennet, but needs Matt's help. Matt agrees. Matt and Ted confront Mr. Bennet and his family at gunpoint as the family was coming home. However, things turn sour and Matt is soon captured again.
In "Parasite", it is revealed that Matt is a prisoner of Thompson and his associates. Then in ".07%", Bennet helps Matt and Ted escape. Over breakfast, they solidify their plans to travel to New York City to knock out a tracking system. In "The Hard Part", Matt, Bennet and Ted continue their mission. They later are shown walking at Kirby Plaza in New York City, where Bennet and Claire are reunited. The group then splits in two, with Peter, Claire and Ted going to a remote town in Nebraska, and Matt and Bennet continuing with their mission to destroy the tracking system. Matt gets them where they need to go.
While waiting for the elevator, they bump into Jessica and her husband, D.L. Bennet and Matt then go to where the tracking system is, only to find Thompson waiting. Matt saves Bennet from death, and Bennet kills Thompson. The two then find the tracking system, surprised to find Molly Walker. Matt protests killing her, but Bennet says it must be done. They argue with Bennet until Matt is knocked out by Mohinder from behind.
In the finale, "How to Stop an Exploding Man", Matt finds Sylar and shoots him. However, Sylar reverses the bullets and gravely wounds Matt.
In "Four Months Later...," it is revealed Matt divorced Janice and that he is now a detective for the NYPD, and is taking care of Molly Walker in Mohinder's apartment. He learns Molly is having nightmares of a dangerous man who can see her when she thinks of him. In "Lizards", Matt is investigating the murder of Kaito Nakamura. He interrogates Angela Petrelli and learns that someone may have murdered Kaito for revenge; but Angela refuses to be interrogated further. Matt later saves Angela from a mysterious attacker. In "The Kindness of Strangers, Matt finds out that his father is part of The Company and that he is the dangerous man frightening Molly. Molly tries to find him for Matt, but she ends up in a coma.
In "Fight or Flight" Matt and Nathan track down Matt's father. When they find him, he reveals he is also a telepath, and is also about to be murdered. At first he seems sorry for having left Matt as a child but ends up tricking Matt and Nathan in separate illusions. Matt is trapped in jail, confronted by his ex-wife and the baby she gave birth to after the divorce. It is indicated that while she said that the baby she was having wasn't Matt's, he knew that this wasn't true. Matt is able to telepathically talk to Nathan and escape the illusion, finding that Bob is set to be killed.
In "Out of Time", Matt discovers he is able to manipulate people and uses it to find the last unknown survivor of the photograph by "interrogating" Angela Petrelli. He also finally defeats his father because he learns that like his father he is able to control all aspects of the brain. He manages to tap into this and enter the nightmare Molly's trapped in and summon his father into it. He realizes it's his father's own nightmare and after a battle of wills leaves it with Molly and uses his powers to trap his father in his own nightmare. In "Powerless", he goes with Nathan to intercept Peter and Adam Monroe, in hopes of stopping them from releasing a deadly virus that would kill 93% of the world's population. Before leaving to confront them, Angela warns Matt that if they cannot stop Peter, that he'll have to kill him. Upon meeting Peter at Primatech, Matt attempts to compel Peter to stop Adam. Though this proves unsuccessful, Nathan is later able to convince Peter that Adam has tricked him. Together, they manage to stop the virus, and resolve to reveal their secret, and the Company, to the world. Nathan enlists Matt's help to use his powers in convincing the media to hear him out. At the conference, Matt is present when Nathan is gunned down before he can reveal their secrets, but is unable to locate the assailant immediately after the attack.
In "The Second Coming", after Nathan is shot, Matt and Peter chase the assailant, a future version of Peter, finding nothing. Matt later confronts the future Peter, who is disguised as his present self, when he becomes suspicious of his actions. Future Peter then removes his disguise, confesses that he is from the future and shot Nathan, and teleports Matt to an unknown location in Africa, because he knows too much. In "The Butterfly Effect", he is rescued by Usutu, who paints the future, particularly Parkman's life. He learns Parkman's name by reading it off his badge.
In "I Am Become Death", Matt sees the future through a dream caused by Usutu. In the dream, he finds himself still living with Molly in the same apartment as he did in the second season, only this time accompanied with another daughter, called Daniella, and the baby's mother, Daphne. Matt expresses his concern of Daphne still working for Pinehearst when she comes by to ask Molly where the present Peter fled to. Matt is next seen in awed silence watching a news report on the nuclear explosion in Costa Verde (caused by Sylar), with Molly, worried that Daphne was caught in the blast. Daphne arrives home seconds later with a smile, but gasps that she wasn't fast enough before collapsing in Matt's arms. Matt then wakes up to realize that he never left Usutu or the desert, and realizes that he must find Daphne to keep her from suffering the same fate she did in his dream. Usutu tells him that only Matt can find his way, and that he must follow his spirit guide. Matt is confused, but then notices the tortoise he saw right before meeting Usutu, and realizes it is his spirit guide. He is then seen following the tortoise as it moves slowly through the desert.
In "Dying of the Light", Matt has arrived at an airport with the tortoise. He is greeted by Daphne, who is shocked that he knows her name. He tells her that they are soulmates, which she doesn't believe, instead offering him a job at Pinehearst. She tells him to wait for her. After a while he decides to go ahead and leave. Daphne returns in time to stop him. She says he's a good guy and the people at Pinehearst aren't. She advises him to stay away. He tells her she should keep away from them as well. She tells him that she can't and leaves.
In "Eris Quod Sum", Daphne is directed by Arthur Petrelli to kill Matt after he does not come to Pinehearst. She has the gun pointed at Matt, but drops it. Knox, however, has followed her, and after knocking Daphne unconscious rips his hand through Matt, apparently killing him. After he leaves, this proves to be a dream sequence manifested by Matt. However, soon after this Daphne receives a call from Arthur revealing that she is fooling Matt into trusting her for an unknown purpose.
In "It's Coming", he and Daphne go to Primatech for help and find Angela in a coma. Matt decides to use his powers to try to wake her up. After Daphne supposedly goes to find a nurse but in reality alerts Arthur to his plans, Matt enters Angela's mind like he entered Molly's to save her from Maury. In Angela's mind, he finds her handcuffed to a chair and she tells him to leave as Arthur is too powerful. As he tries to free her, Arthur shows up disguised as Daphne and stabs him. When this wound manifests physically, the real Daphne grabs on to him and manages to get him to pull her into Angela's mind. Once there, Arthur reveals that Daphne had betrayed him, but while Daphne admits this, she repents, saying she loves Matt and the two embrace. Angela manages to convince Arthur to let her go and Matt pulls himself, Daphne and Angela back to the real world, finally waking her up. His psychic wound heals at this point. He then encounters Peter and attacks him for sending Matt to Africa, but Peter is able to convince him, after Matt verifies telepathically, that it wasn't him. Matt is present when Angela reveals that there's a catalyst needed for the formula and Claire realizes that it could be her.
In "The Eclipse", Matt (like everyone else) loses his powers thanks to the eclipse, and Daphne goes home. When he goes to visit her, he discovers that Daphne had trouble walking before she gained her powers. He is later approached by Ando and Hiro, who want him to restore Hiro's memory after it was erased by Arthur, but he is unable to do so due to Hiro's inability to speak English, and aids them in finding a way to restore his memories by looking through 9th Wonders comic books. When the eclipse is over, he helps Daphne reconcile with her father.
In "Dual", Matt, Daphne, and Ando discover that Hiro is trapped in the past, and Daphne steals a vial of Mohinder's superpower-granting formula so Ando can give himself powers and save him. Instead of gaining Hiro's power of space-time manipulation, however, Ando gains the ability to enhance the powers of other evolved humans, which enhances Matt's telepathy to the point where he can hear every thought in the city, and enhances Daphne's speed to the point where she can travel through time, which they use to rescue Hiro. Later, they successfully steal the formula and destroy it.
Matt is seen trying to live a normal life with Daphne, as a bodyguard. He begins seeing Usutu in his apartment, who tells him that he is becoming a prophet, like himself. Although Usutu is clearly dead, and he himself states he is an illusion, it is unclear how he is interacting with Matt. Matt then begins drawing the future like Usutu and Isaac Mendez. He is captured when Claire comes to warn him of Nathan rounding up the rest of the superhumans, and is seen on the plane with the rest when it goes down. Matt survives the crash and escapes together with Mohinder and Hiro Nakamura. He gets a vision from Usutu and leads his friends to a nearby trailer. There, he starts to draw under the spiritual guidance of Usutu. One of the pictures reveals Daphne getting shot in her shoulder near the plane crash, even though she wasn't on the plane. Daphne herself has run together with Ando Masahasi to the crash site to find him. After they find each other, Matt and Daphne embrace but she ends up shot by Danko's soldiers, just as depicted in Matt's paintings. Matt mind controls one of the soldiers, forcing him to shoot his comrades. The distraction allows Matt to escape with Hiro, Ando and Mohinder, leaving a presumably dead Daphne behind. Matt and Mohinder reunite with Peter Petrelli, Ando and Hiro and make plans what to do next.
At the end of "Building 26" and continued in "Cold Wars", Matt is seen kidnapping a drugged Noah Bennet at a bar along with Peter and Mohinder. The trio then take Noah to a Motel and Matt attempts to access Noah's memories about the Government's initiative and his meetings with Nathan Petrelli and The Hunter. He discovers that Bennet has warned Mohinder about the attacks, which leads to a fight between them with Mohinder, but then Bennet reveals that Daphne is alive and under custody.
Matt is subsequently captured by the government while trying to rescue Daphne. With Peter having sent a tape to the national news of the government illegally loading up American civilians, The Hunter states that he needs something to blame posthumans for. He drugs Matt and straps explosives to him, pushing him out of a van and behind the Capitol Building. The explosives are disarmed when Nathan intervenes, however, and the government apprehends Matt once again.
In "Cold Snap", Matt, Mohinder, Tracy, and Daphne escape from the facility with help from Rebel. Matt takes Daphne with him to a hospital where she is treated for her gunshot wound. He enters Daphne's mind in her last moment of life, creating a fictional storybook ending for her in Paris to make her happy. However, she tells him to let go.
In "Turn and Face the Strange", Matt attempts to fulfill his lust for revenge against Danko by revealing the truth to Danko's girlfriend, who is unaware of what he really does for a living. Matt then prepares to kill her but cannot bring himself to do it. With nothing to live for, he allows Danko to fire at him. However, Hiro freezes time and rescues Matt. Matt meets his son and is last seen with Matt Parkman Jr. in the back of a car as Hiro and Ando enter.
In "I Am Sylar", Hiro and Ando try to convince Matt to join them bringing down Building 26, but he refuses as he wants to be there for his kid and feels he must retrieve Matt Jr. to Janice back in LA. Once there, he is ought to help Janice and Jr. escape HLS agents and eventually have a life together as a family, but then he realizes than he must help Hiro and Ando so they all will be safe from Building 26. As the agents get inside the house, Matt makes them believe nobody is there.
In "An Invisible Thread", Matt is seen heading to Washington D.C. to join Hiro and Ando; once in the bus stop, he meets Angela who finally convinces him about the importance of Nathan, and that he will save him. They both enter the battle room to find Nathan's dead body. Later, when Sylar is drugged and Peter and Claire are sent away, Angela and Noah convince Matt to brainwash Sylar making him believe he is the real Nathan, due to the fact that he got his appearance and memories, because they all need him to stop the hunt of posthumans. Along with Angela and Noah, they are the only ones that knows the truth about Nathan being dead and Sylar alive impersonating him. He is among the people who witness "Sylar" (James Martin) being cremated at Coyote Sands.
In "Orientation", Matt is living a comfortable life with his wife and son. Ever since he forced Sylar to turn into Nathan, Matt has sworn off using his power. When Angela calls asking for help with Sylar, Matt refuses. Later, Matt begins experiencing a hallucination of Sylar, who tells him that when Matt forced his way into Sylar's mind, a part of the serial killer latched on to Matt's own brain. Sylar wants his body back, which Matt says he won't let happen. Sylar begins to harass Matt to force him to lose control and use his power. Matt has an outburst at his addiction meeting (where he refers to his power in vague terms as his "addiction") and later on when Matt is interrogating a suspect. Finally, Sylar goads Matt into using his power to drive away the handsome water delivery boy, because Matt was jealous of the delivery boy's relationship with his wife and son.
In "Ink", Matt thinks his one use of his power was a slip up, and turns in his 30 day sobriety chip. Sylar continues to taunt Matt, who says that he will ignore him since Sylar has no real power locked up in Matt's head. While investigating the house of a suspected drug dealer, Sylar points out to Matt that his suspect is hiding in a closet with a gun. Matt is stunned when Sylar turns out to be correct. After the suspect is tied up, Matt's partner checks upstairs, and Sylar points out a pink stuffed bunny in the next room, hinting that a little girl has been kidnapped. Matt finds a ransom note, confirming this fear. Matt reads the suspect's mind and finds the girl's body. He goes berserk and starts pounding the suspect. His partner re-enters the room and demands to know what Matt is doing. Matt tries to explain, but suddenly the bunny, ransom note, and body are gone. Sylar taunts that he used Matt's own power against him, and made him see things that weren't there, and Matt realizes that Sylar does have power over him. Matt's partner is planning to call him in, but Matt, not wanting his life to be ruined, uses his power to convince his partner that the beating of the suspect was justified, and causes him to call it in as such. Sylar gives Matt an ultimatum: either give his body back, or Sylar will continually ruin Matt's life.
Matt still refuses to return Sylar to his body, and in "Strange Attractors", Sylar takes control of Matt's body while he's making love to Janice. Matt, fearing that this new development will put his family in danger, reveals what is happening to him to Janice and she offers to take their son and leave to let Matt deal with it. Matt discovers that drinking alcohol appears to injure Sylar, and quickly downs several glasses. Sylar finally appears to disappear, and Matt blacks out right as Janice returns with Matt's partner from the force. Matt awakens hours later, and talks with his wife and partner, vowing to never let this happen to him again. However, it is revealed that Sylar took control of Matt's body while he was blacked out, and now is controlling him completely.
In "Shadowboxing", Matt attempts suicide by cop to prevent Sylar from taking revenge on the people who separated his mind from his body; he is last shown in an ambulance as they try to revive him. In "Brother's Keeper", he is healed by Peter and explains the situation, but Nathan brushes up against Matt's hand during a struggle with a guard, allowing Sylar to transfer back in. Simultaneously horrified at Nathan's plight and relieved at his own, Matt uses his telepathy to sneak out of the hospital.
In "The Art of Deception", Matt is confronted by Sylar upon coming home from the store and is shocked, believing Sylar is somehow in his head again. However, it is Sylar in his own body again and Sylar, wanting to become human again, demands that Matt put a block on his powers. Matt is unable to do anything due to feedback, but is able to read Sylar's mind enough to tell that he's actually serious. Sylar ends up threatening Janice (who finally realizes who he is), but Matt talks him down and gets him to allow Janice to leave. At Janice's suggestion, Matt decides to get rid of Sylar for good and pretends to block his powers while in reality he traps Sylar in his own worst nightmare: a world where he is completely alone with no powers and an hour in the real world equals a year there. After erasing Sylar's memory of what he did, Matt starts to brick Sylar in behind his wall when Peter arrives looking for Sylar. Peter copies Matt's powers again and, reading his mind, learns what he did. Needing Sylar's help, Peter enters Sylar's mind to free him against Matt's warnings that he might get trapped. Later, Matt fully bricks up Sylar, but leaves Peter's unconscious body lying against the wall.
In "Brave New World," Matt is in his kitchen looking through the refrigerator when there's what sounds like an explosion, unknown to him the awakened Sylar breaking free of his prison. Matt is confronted by several Eli clones and tries to use his powers to stop them, but is unable to as only the real Eli has a mind that can be manipulated. Outnumbered and pretty much powerless, Matt is overpowered and his knee dislocated before the Elis' prepare to kill him with kitchen knives. At the last second, the clones disappear as Peter and Sylar defeat the real Eli and the other clones and knock out the Prime Eli which gets rid of the clones. Matt is pissed that Peter freed Sylar and refuses to help Peter by reading Eli's mind, so Peter does it himself and learns Samuel's terrible plans. Peter tries to take off with Sylar, but Matt mentally commands Sylar to stay and he and Peter try to convince Matt that Sylar has changed, going so far as to have Matt read his mind. Matt says that while Sylar's mind wants to change, he can't tell what his heart wants, but gives him a chance and orders him and Peter out. Alone with the unconscious Eli, Matt brainwashes him into turning against Samuel which ultimately helps defeat him as Eli's support helps cause the carnies to turn on Samuel and strip him of his powers.
- In the alternate future of "Five Years Gone", in which New York City is destroyed by a nuclear explosion, Matt is seen working as Director of the Department of Homeland Security and is in direct contact with the now President Nathan Petrelli (who is actually Sylar in disguise). In this future Matt is seen as being a much darker and cynical man who hunts down those with abilities and arrests them in exchange for the protection of his son. He kills Hana Gitelman, Mr. Bennet and Future Hiro. At the end of the episode, he is shocked to find that Sylar had been using his powers to disguise himself as Nathan. He still cares about his family however and has a much greater deal of control over his powers, being able to "rip out" memories instead of passively overhearing thoughts.
- In the alternate future of "I Am Become Death", in which abilities are publicly available, Matt is living with his adoptive daughter Molly, his wife Daphne, and his own infant daughter. He attempts to talk his wife out of tracking down Peter. He watches Daphne die in his arms when she returns after trying to escape the nuclear explosion in Costa Verde.
Powers and abilities
Matt is a telepath, able to read and manipulate the thoughts of others. In the episode "Out of Time", Bob states that Matt, like his father, should be able to control all aspects of the mind, including thoughts and senses, with practice. Matt originally could not activate his at will, causing him to pick up the thoughts of all those in close proximity to him. He gradually learns to elicit specific thoughts from people, and eventually learns to compel individuals to do as he wishes.
Though Matt's power enables him to read the minds of most people, it can be defeated through various methods. The Haitian's power is able to nullify Matt's, protecting himself and those in his vicinity. Other telepaths, such as Peter Petrelli and Maury Parkman, are also able to shield their minds. Finally, since Matt only speaks English, he cannot understand thoughts in other languages; Noah Bennet is able to defeat Matt's power by thinking in Japanese, which also happens with the child-minded Hiro who didn't know English. Although in "Cold Wars" Matt was able to overcome this while displaying a new ability with his telepathy where he was able to make his victims relive past events by going through their memory, while doing this to his victims such as Noah Bennet, it causes them pain. However, this is merely due to them resisting his efforts and it is shown that if the person who he's doing it to allows him to do it of their own free will, there's no pain.
An interesting aspect of Matt's mind-reading is that it allows him to read any thoughts going through a person's mind - at one point, Matt read Jessica Sanders' mind and heard Niki in there as well. Jessica was surprised ("You heard Niki?").
He is able to enter the minds of various individuals in different episodes, including Nathan Petrelli, Molly Walker, and Angela Petrelli. When Maury traps Matt inside Molly's "nightmare world", Matt is able to bring his father in with them and subsequently leave with Molly, trapping Maury in his own nightmare (though Maury escapes). He later enters Angela's mind to free her after Arthur Petrelli traps her in her own mind and succeeds with Daphne's help, gaining the ability to pull people in with him at the same time. Apparently to free someone trapped in their own mind, someone has to enter it as Peter later has to do the same thing to free Sylar when Matt traps him in a nightmare. In "Cold Snap" he enters Daphne's mind to give her a fairytale ending while she dies.
Matt's ability to compel others is not as honed as his father's, though he demonstrates the ability at various points.
Matt can place suggestions in others through telepathic commands as a form of mind control, but those aware of what he is doing can resist. In "Cautionary Tales", Angela Petrelli initially resists his commands, though she experiences a nosebleed and eventually succumbs.
In "Eris Quod Sum", Matt is able to make the villain Knox see an illusion of Daphne and Matt himself dying, as well as momentarily immobilize him physically. In "Cold Snap" and "I Am Sylar" he is able to make agents ignore him and company, making them believe there was no one at the place.
In Volume Four, the combination of the growth of his telepathy and the precognitive visions induced by Usutu grants him access to the "same plane of consciousness" that other precognitive characters access for their own powers, allowing him to draw the future. Unlike Isaac Mendez, he didn't show any artistic skills until gaining this ability, which also happens to other characters.
In "The Art of Deception", Matt tries to use his telepathy to remove Sylar's powers by putting a mental block on them. Due to feedback, he is unable to, but is able to read Sylar's mind enough to know that he is actually serious about this. Ultimately Matt uses his powers to trap Sylar in a nightmare where he has no powers and is alone, similar to what his father once did to Molly Walker. In this nightmare one hour in the real world equals one year in the nightmare. Sylar is ultimately freed from his nightmare by Peter Petrelli who enters his mind and frees him like Matt did for Molly Walker and Angela Petrelli.