Interview: Matt Andres

Interview: Matt Andres

Matt Andres is an artist from Canada with a unique style and a truly impressive portfolio. Next to that he’s going to make art for Damu The Fudgemunk, Redefinition Records and The Find Magazine this year. You might know him of the cover art he did for Issue Two, and if not: get familiar with his work as soon as possible! By reading this interview, for example.

Matt Andres is an artist from Canada with a unique style and a truly impressive portfolio. Next to that he’s going to make art for Damu The Fudgemunk, Redefinition Records and The Find Magazine. You might know him of the cover art he did for Issue Two, and if not: get familiar with his work as soon as possible! By reading this interview, for example.

This interview is done by the good people over at Wallfarmers.
Be sure to check their site for more goodness!

Alright Matt Andres, tell them where you are from.

A small rock of the coast of BC called Victoria.  But I like to consider Vancouver a close second.

Are you originally from Vancouver? 

No, from Victoria but lived in Vancouver for close to seven years.  I learned a lot and was exposed to so much during that time.  So art wise it’s been a huge influence.

Do you feel like you get the same exposure to art in Victoria that you did in Vancouver?

Not while I was growing up.  I was always the one kid in the group that would draw for everyone else.  My close friends at the time weren’t into the same things I was but they were super stoked by what I did.  Once I went to school in Vancouver I was all of a sudden surrounded by other creative types.  Some of those people exposed me to new forms of art and music.

How would you describe your art (genre wise)?

Abstract character based illustration.  It’s changing a lot in the past year.  If you asked me a year ago I’d probably say Urban Illustration.

Urban illustrations? What’s that? 

What I’d describe my work as, haha.  I was really inspired by hip hop and the feel of modern graphics.  I still am but I think my influences are getting more obscure at a fast pace.  I used a computer to give my work a high energy look and now it’s about textures, stains and working more with traditional methods.

Fair enough. Can you elaborate on that or do you have any other external influences?

I think my influences have changed in a few ways but the biggest one being that I’m more drawn to things being more abstract and obscure.  Abstract paintings never used to draw me in but now I find they’re catching and holding my attention.  Even my music that I listen to while I work has become a lot more abstract.  Music would be my biggest external influence and that’s never changed.

Regarding music, who do you listen to while you work? The short list..

Short list?!  That is way too hard.  Damu The Fudgemunk, Teebs, Cold Cave, Flying Lotus, J Dilla, Oh No, Paul White etc.  A lot of instrumental/beat type stuff.  But I have to name Ganshat mixes as one of my favorite things to listen to for creative inspiration.
Not that short…

And how about other artists? You say you are inspired by abstract art, are there classical artists you draw from or is it more from the younger, more modern pool of artists?

The two classical artists I’m inspired by have always been Klimt and Egon Schiele.  The way they worked their shapes and lines were so ahead of the curve and they really remind me of the shapes you see in graffiti.  I haven’t had the chance to really jump into researching classical abstract painters but I hear the book store calling me!  As far as the more modern pool of artists I’d have to go with two Vancouver guys being Peter Taylor and Ben Tour.  Peter because I’ve actually seen him progress and the way he works is so different from me that it’s really interesting to watch him draw.  I think Ben Tour has appealed to me because of the opposite reason as Taylor.  When I look at his work I see a lot of the same elements.  Splatters, drips and the way he distorts the figure.

What’s your medium of choice?

Ink, brush and paper.  I feel at home with how you can apply it directly or water it down and let it help make some of the decisions for you.  Love the randomness of it.  I’ve always drawn with pencils and pens but I’m working towards using more mediums like acrylics, charcoal and watercolours.

I noticed that in the series you did for The [Harrington] Project, you did some pieces with spray paint, are you working on getting more comfortable with the can in your work as well?

It’s something I want to get to for sure.  So far it’s just been little bits here and there.  I know I need to start working bigger and I’m sure spray paint will fit into that perfectly.

What’s the biggest piece you’ve done so far?

I have done some pieces that are close to four feet but those involved some of my computer work.  Working with acrylics I’ve done a few canvases that were about 30″ x 40″.

Speaking of work…what pays your bills in Vic?

I work with a 3d program called Maya doing models for a tourist map company.
Tiny buildings and tiny trees all day.  I live in Miniature World.

Nice, so your regular job is creative as well. Do you ever try to sneak any of your characters in the map? That would be awesome!

Matt: Just the odd tag here and there.  Oh, and Wallfarmers stickers. The alleyway’s are lined with them!

When was the first time you showed your work in public, like at a show, and where was it?

It was November of 2008.  Ahh, remember it like it was yesterday.  My homies Jules One and Degree organize these shows called Plethora, in Victoria.  They’ve had three so far and I’ve had a few pieces in all of them.  They mix art and music in a club like atmosphere.  Always a good time!

Nice! How was ’09 for your art & life?

2009 was really crazy for me.  Especially the last quarter of it.  I have been in shock about all the support and opportunities I’ve been given.  Also by how fast everything has happened.  Makes me want to drink tons of coffee to get myself energized for this next year.

Although I’ve been drawing tonight and my lines are a tad shaky because of all the caffeine I’ve had today.  Maybe I should drink less.

Yeah man, everything in moderation for sure. And what’s on your plate for 2010 so far?

Matt: I have a few gallery shows and a couple music related projects.  The first show being a group show at Ayden Gallery in Vancouver on January 8th.  After that I’m showing with some Vancouver artists at Compound Gallery in Portland.  In July I’m having my first solo show at Phillips Brewery here in Victoria.

The one music related project I’m allowed to speak about is my project with Redefinition Records and Damu the Fudgemunk.  Being a big fan of his music, I can’t wait to get this started and out to the public!  Also I’ll be working with The Find Magazine on a couple of their projects.

How did you get the gig with Damu and is this the busiest you’ve ever been with your art as work?

Danny, the guy that runs The Find Magazine (who I’ve done a cover for in the past) showed my work to JNota who handles Redefinition Records.  I’ve been really excited with the interest my work has been getting from the actual musicians I listen to.  Hopefully I’ll be able to announce a couple other music related projects once they become more materialized.  This has been by far the busiest I’ve been with doing my art for shows and clients.  Hopefully I can step up the pace and do so much more this next year.

Getting back to the content of your art, are the characters people you know or just made up?

Mostly made up. Friends have pointed out that there’s visual elements of myself in a lot of my pieces.  Stuff like hats, toques and scruffy chins.  Oh and those huge/long arms and hands are kinda like mine.  Scary really.

Haha, I don’t know about the hands but the arms are oddly gangly like yours for sure. What are your New years resolutions for ’10 by the way?

My New Years resolution is to work on the presentation of my work.  Because of how fast everything has happened I haven’t had time to learn a lot of the things I want to, such as framing.  I feel like my creative skills are where I want them to be but they would be really enhanced with some new technical ones.  Also a website (real one besides a blog or flickr) is going to happen.

I’ve spoken to several artists that say they have been more successful with a real site rather than a blog. I think it shows that the artist is serious about their work.

Exactly and I know it’s one area I really need to step up with.  I really love the framing work that the Woodpile Collective do.

When I first saw your work, it reminded me of a comic book style of drawing, has this kind of art ever interested you?

Yeah for most of my teenage years I think.  It went from that and animation all the time.  During animation school I learned that I much prefer to draw a character once and then design a new one.  So the idea of doing the same character all the time quickly changed my idea of what I wanted to do with my work.  Actually, bringing up animation school made life drawing pop into my head.  I’d say that is where I really started to figure out what I want to do with my work and how I want it to look.

Have you thought of getting into the comic industry?

Not in the least.  Maybe it’d be something that would eventually interest me again but for right now galleries, peoples homes and music related projects is where I want to see my work.  I respect the artists/creators that have the passion for creating their own stories in that form.  It’s the same as animation.  I’ve done it and it was an amazing experience but I love doing one piece and then being able to move on to the next one.  But again I wouldn’t say that I’d never want to dip back into it.

Do you have any advice you’d like to offer up to the young artists out there?

I think I am a young artist and need advice from all the experienced artists, haha.  But I’d say to just do it because it makes you happy.  The artists work will show if they’re into what they’re doing or not.  It’d be much easier for me just to work my full time job and then chill with my friends but I have to create because it’s the only thing that brings that type of fulfillment. Also make sure you learn the basics and then work on getting an original style.  Both are so important.

We’re gonna wrap this up now… any what up’s you want give?

Do you mean shout outs?  If so, of course!  These are all people that have supported or inspired me this past year…  Jamie, James, Mike Roma, Chris, Kass, Taylor, Jules, Degree, Peter Ricq, Danny from The Find, my dog Brooklyn and of course my family.  Oh and I’ll throw in this girl Tarah…  she’s been pretty awesome this past year. 


Words by: Tarah
Source: Wallfarmers
More info: Matt Andres

Matt is part of the exposition ‘Merge’ in Vancouver, which opens tonight (Jan 8th).
Click here for more info.

Just an ordinary guy always on the hunt for extraordinary music. Not just as the founder of The Find Magazine & Rucksack Records, but also as a freelance music journalist (bylines at Tracklib, Bandcamp, Wax Poetics, DIG Mag, among others) and—above all—out of love for all kinds of good music.