If we’ve learnt one thing in the illustration world, it’s that having a damn fine pen name can get you anywhere. Well, that and a bucket load of talent.
We first became aware of Matt the Horse through a mutual friend. He’d just provided art on one of their animation projects and they were rightly chuffed with the outcome. His crazy lines and exaggerated characters instantly caught our attention, but it’s the warmth and honesty of his work that keeps us hooked to his Instagram feed.
We caught up with Matt to see what makes him tick…
Your work spans comics, animation, exhibition art and editorial. Do you have to approach each medium differently, in terms of your style and creative process?
Conceptually no. I try to be consistent with my own tone of voice. Though not always easy I ‘d like there to be an underlying principle of daft, immediate and heart felt in most things I do. Unless its a really client driven job, then I dance to someone else bongos
In regards to process and design, I’d certainly consider how the images are going to be produced and what context they’re going to exist within. Prints to be hung on walls need to be aware of walls. Pages of a book need to look right on a page. Its tricky though, I’m not really sure what the answer is yes. I try to see it in my mind first, but its all cluttered in there with other junk.
I’d say no. In fact, I think thats where the interesting challenge comes from. Perhaps its easier to convey a certain tone and pathos across the panels of a comic that with one single image. I like thinking about what isn’t told, off the edge of the picture frame or between the panels. Can a single image break your heart? I think thats when illustration becomes art, when the viewer experiences the image rather than consumes it.
What first inspired you to draw?
As a child, I was a show off. I danced around and told jokes and tried to make everyone happy. I loved shred experiences. I like conversations and wonder. Drawing and image making become tools to further this impulse. I’m not a desk hermit, though I’m always trying to refine my craft. Primarily though I’m motivated by ideas and message.
Can you remember what was the first thing you consciously drew as a piece of art?
It was a nice canal boat in powder paint
Perhaps it is yes, but what does this mean? Is it wise to do so? We must be careful not to create a monster. I work with many students who are confused what their motivation is. This is not a lifestyle, its a simple thing made complex.
Why does anyone make pictures? Why do others read/ buy/ subscribe to these images? Primarily it is a professional practice and as such should be defined as an applied art. The last big job I did was very intense, stressful and lacked creative freedom. I enjoyed the experience and was satisfied with the outcomes but more as a professional than an artist.
However, I’ve also recently spent an afternoon drawing as a way of making sense of some ideas I’ve had about duty, isolation and caves. These drawings may become some sort of print run which perhaps someone may want to hang on their wall one day?
So I’d say I’m both an illustrator and artist perhaps. I don’t know, I’m confused. I’m not sure its important… I’d rather just get on with drawing
Before leaving us, could you impart a lasting tip or nugget of advice to any would-be artists that might be reading?
Start with something to say
Or a feeling in your pencil
and space to make your work
Fuck the internet
Spend sometime on your own
Think through your problems