att’s work style may help to explain this phenomenon. “Working in series has really helped me keep my momentum with personal artwork,” he says. “Deciding to work in a particular style and create a cohesive body of work is beneficial in many ways. The artworks become more powerful when they are part of a larger narrative, and by setting out to create ten or twenty pieces, rather than one or two, I have a stronger feeling of commitment to the project.”Matt also brings a sense of balance to his life, always making time for personal projects even while working very full time on projects for clients. “It’s nice to do stuff that won’t be revised by someone else, or scrapped by a client, or crushed by a deadline. Personal artwork is key to my happiness and overall creativity level, and after long days at the office, it is often hard to keep pushing.” Before he ran his own studio, Matt devoted at least an hour a day to his personal projects and “always went to sleep feeling like I was keeping it real to the ‘artist’ in me.” Now that he controls his own calendar, he is able to book personal studio time for himself.
Matt, on keeping ideas alive, organization, and defying conventional wisdom:
Commitment to Ideas
“By saying these series are ‘lifelong endeavors’ to friends and colleagues, I am even more committed to following through with my plans.”
“I live by the motto and I feel my greatest work happens when I am required to step out of my comfort zone and look at things from a new angle. When I’m not working on client projects, I am busy in my art studio playing and exploring.”
“I have a funny system of organization that starts with yellow stickies. Everything on the stickies is either a new task or a task for this week. Longer-term projects make it onto the hand written full-size paper lists on my bulletin board. And then there is one final list that represents the “big ideas” that I want to do, and the projects that are recurring.”
“If I am away from the studio and an idea occurs to me I immediately email it to myself from my iPhone and it finds its way onto a yellow sticky when I return.”
“Lots of illustrators focus on one particular style and end up not being able to switch it up because clients only want them to do the same thing again…By showing a wide range of work in various styles that I have developed over the years, I am able to get projects from all corners of design and illustration. One day I might be doing a technical vector illustration of a car, the next day designing a logo, and the next day painting an abstract canvas. This range of work keeps me charged up creatively. It also expands my options for future endeavors.”