Hi Matt! Introduce yourself to our Stickerbomb fans!
I’m an illustrator from a small remote town in Scotland called Wick, but I moved away after school to explore the city lights of Edinburgh. I moved there to attend college but didn’t last long, I knew I was on the wrong path at that time, I was studying surveying and architecture, but after a few months I knew it wasn’t for me.
I had started drawing again with friends, this must have been about 2004. At that time, I hadn’t drawn since high school in 2001. I was thinking of returning to study but I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do, it was at that point when I thought to myself – “Hey, why not do something you love?” And then I did.
I got into a summer portfolio class, then with that under my belt, I applied to college and I got into the Illustration course at Edinburgh College of Art. Because I started studying later than most, at the age of 25, I feel that I put everything I had into it. I was done with the partying and student life experience, and I was really there to hone my skills, to progress and to learn as much as I could.
You often use Linocut in your work, is there reason why and how did that come about?
The Uni I was at had amazing print facilities and a beautiful space to work in. I had access to a variety of large printing presses and roller presses and all the printing ink I could ask for. It was incredible. I wish I could spend more time there.
I find the process pretty relaxing, certainly the cutting part of it. Sometimes, the planning and trying to work out the different layers of colour, and when to cut them, can be a bit of a mind fart.
Since moving down south from Edinburgh I haven’t had done as much printing as I would have liked. I’ve only recently started printing again after a short break. I’ve been doing more digital and hand-drawn work.
I’ve been using Illustrator recently, I’m trying to make myself more employable, and I feel that the more software I know, the better chance I have of finding work. That, and actually being able to draw helps.
Tell us more about your characters. Are the characters in your illustration based on the people around you?
The characters in my work come from either my imagination or from observational sketches that I have done when I’m out and about with my sketchbook. The characters that I create from imagination have been developed over years of practice and gaining a good understanding of the human form. I attend life drawing classes on a weekly basis, and I am always looking for inspiration from the people that I see around me, mostly from strangers on the street.
I believe that as an artist, it is vital to practice certain traditional drawing skills, such as life drawing. I have spent a lot of time drawing faces, and I find them so interesting, You can change the expression, mood and emotion of a character with the slightest alteration to their features, and they come in so many shapes, sizes and colour. They fascinate me.
I love drawing characters. I love seeing them come to life a little more after each line. I have dabbled in a bit of loop animation in the past, and also sculpture. These are two areas that I would love to work with more, seeing a character brought to life, either through movement or in 3D, is such a satisfying process.
What’s in store for you in 2016?
I have been working on a couple of commissions that might lead to some more work in that style. I am aiming to get my work to be shown around Cambridge. I would love to do some murals this year, I can see some of my characters on a large scale, it just needs the right person to see them and want them. In the next couple of months, I am aiming to get some stickers done and I am hoping to get some t-shirts out there too. One of my goals in my career is that I can create work that is affordable. I am all about making my work available to everybody. I’m gradually making work that is going to be used for a kick-starter project. The aim is to have a selection of stickers, postcards, prints and also a zine. I’m trying to raise some money for a new piece of equipment to help with the quality and production of my digital work – hopefully that takes off soon. I’ve also started painting again and have lots of ideas that I want to get on with, would love to do a wee solo show of the characters here in Cambridge.
Can you share some of your favourite artists on Instagram with us?
Ah! Where do I start? There is so much talent out there. I’ll give you my top 10. In no particular order we have: @misterthoms, @wilfridwoodsculptor, @tea_wei, @michaelhackerillustration, @bezt_etam, @conetheweird, @hrvbtheweird, @andrewhem, @georgepratt and @_theyok. There’s just so many incredible creatives in this world, and these are just a few of the artists I find inspiring. They’ve inspired me to pursue my creative passion and to keep doing what I love. There is this amazing feeling you get when you draw, it’s a form of meditation when you get in the zone, and really, there’s nothing quite like it.
Can you pick 3 of your favourite pieces of work you’ve done so far?
Oh, well the sticker head that I’ve just completed has to be one of my favorites, which I’ll send over to you. Also, the painting I’m doing at the moment is looking real good, and finally, my biggest Lino cut that I made for my degree show.
Don’t forget to check out Matt Sloe’s website.