As a self taught contemporary fine artist, Matt's distinct style has a street and pop art edge. He uses various mediums to create texture, density and dimension.
In this inspiring and exclusive interview he talks about living his dream and why he was stubborn and decided to build his career here in Brisbane.
How did your journey and love for contemporary fine art begin?
MS: My career background was originally in graphic design which then lead into a strong marketing and branding background where I worked for several premium brands. It was during these full-time roles that I built my art business up as a side project and in 2010 turned it into my full-time career. I have always loved contemporary fine art and had a strong feeling that it would be part of my life in the future, so now looking back, I am glad that I trusted that feeling.
You are one of the very few artists who have stayed in Brisbane to follow and grow their passion. What keeps you here?
MS: Brisbane is my home, and always will be. When the 'mass exodus' of artists happened several years back, my stubborness decided to stay and just make it work here. Now, the way that I have structured my business, means that I can live here and freight art all over the world. It really is a perfect scenario.
Would you say you are living the dream?
MS: Absolutely! I love what I do, am proud of what I produce and work my own hours. I am asked to work with some amazing global brands, in addition to living in an inspiring suburb. It really doesn't get any better.
Recently you worked with MINI to give the Motorline MINI a serious makeover! Can you tell us about it?
MS: Yes, that is a fun project. I was approached by Motorline MINI Garage to paint a brand-newly released MINI Cooper 5 Door. This was not only a celebration for the new model, but also a celebration for the dealership which has just won the 'Dealer Of The Year' for the 4th consecutive year running. The artwork concept was left 100% up to me and having worked for the MINI brand in the past, I knew of its close association to fashion and design. Knowing this, I incorporated a very strong fashion theme into the work, which came to life in my style using both hand-painted acrylic and aerosol paints. It really turns heads as I drive it around, as the extremely bold colour palette stands out on the streets!
You are taking over Brisbane with a street art project in collaboration with TOTEM Cirque du Soleil. Are you excited and what can we expect to see?
MS: I'm extremely excited about this project, although it is quite a mammoth task! I will be painting 4 x (8 metre high) pillars along Coro-nation Drive, with artwork that is inspired by the 'TOTEM' show, currently in Brisbane. Not many people know this, but Brisbane has the highest-per-capita ticket sales of anywhere in the world for Cirque Du Soleil and the company wanted to show appreciation for the years of support by gifting the people of Brisbane an enormous artwork. In total, I will be painting 300 square metres of mural over a week-long stint, which will remain as a permanent fixture.
Over 6 months of planning has gone into this project with close liasing with the Brisbane City Council and Cirque Du Soleil, so the pressure is on!! It will be an amazing piece once finished.
You recently launched your new range of Art Cushions. They are gorgeous (and big) by the way. Can you tell us about the unique prints and where our readers can buy them?
MS: Thank you very much! I am in LOVE with them!! I wanted to create a cushion that was different to everything else currently available, and I think that I have done just that. These 'Art Cushions' carry a series of my artworks and designs on them and they are 100% Australian Made and are an absolute premium product made from high grade Belgian Linen. The feedback from high-end interior designers and customers alike has been nothing short of humbling, so I know that I have achieved exactly what I set out to do. They are available through several online stores like: 'The Block Shop' and 'Kreo Home', however, readers can purchase them directly from me also via email (email@example.com).
A lot of your work has a fashion edge. What inspires you?
MS: Fashion is just another type of artform, so it makes sense to include it in my works. It really interests me and as I create concepts, I try to include all types of fashion that really inspire me. My style of works lend themselves to bold colour blocking and long, flowing lines, so it's a perfect match! I take this inspiration from everywhere ... I read (flip through) all of the current fashion and design magazines and follow dozens of relevant people on social media. I am the 'perfect husband' who actually loves going shopping with my wife for new outfits, shoes and accessories and it usualy ends with her asking for my opinion. Weird. From all of this, I'll include trends, in addition to using sources and inspiration that just resonate with me personally.
What advice would you give aspiring artists?
MS: If artists are wanting to pursue their passion as a full-time career, treat it like a business that you want to succeed.
Know your demographic ... after all, you're selling a product -you! People buy art for the art as well as for the artist. Who are you selling too? What do they love (not just art, but everything in their lives)? What do people love most about your art? Once you know your buyer well, then you'll know how to direct your concepts to produce beautiful artworks that will resonate with them.
What's next for you?
MS: I have several large projects coming up in the next few months after I finish the Cirque Du Soleil artwork.
All of these I still have to keep quite about, but all will be revealed soon. In addition to these, I have a waiting list for both private and corporate mural jobs, as well as a 9-10 week wait for canvas artwork commission orders. I am also looking into a couple of other homeware products to add to my cushion range. Life just keeps getting busier, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
Fast Five Facts:
1. Describe your creative aesthetic in three words?
MS: Bold. Energetic. Intriguing.
2. Ultimate dream collaboration?
3. Favourtie Friday activity?
MS: Indoor Go-Karting at Eagle Farm.
4. What is one thing you can't live without?
5. In 2015 you are most excited about...
MS: Painting in Hawaii in August.