Artist Proof Interview with Artist: Matt Mills
Global Location: Austin, Texas (USA)
Matt spends his days making magic happen at Junction Point (a video game development studio) in Austin, TX. Nights and weekends. He lets his mind wander free to create interesting and unusual artwork.
AP: How long have you been making art for and what lead you to start?
MM: Well, I guess I would say that my artistic interests weren’t fully realized until about 8 years ago. Growing up, I always had an interest in drawing. I would sit and draw weird people, cars, and other random doodles for hours. But that’s as far it went. I was too focused on other things at the time to fully explore the creativity brewing inside my head. It wasn’t until I had graduated from college, and moved out on my own that I felt the urge to start exploring my artistic urges once again. I’m honestly not sure what sparked my interest at that specific time, but I just felt this strong yearning to create…and so I did, and have been enjoying it ever since.
AP: Where do you currently live and work ? And how does this influence your work?
MM: I am currently living and working in Austin, Texas (USA). The unofficial motto in Austin is, “Keep Austin Weird” so that should give you an idea of the kind of place it is. Needless to say, there is a lot of support here for creativity, be it for artists, musicians, or whatever else you’re into. I work for a video game development studio here called Junction Point, which is owned by Disney. And even though my particular job is not focused on creating artwork, I do get to work around a bunch of wildly talented artists who do amazing work. That definitely inspires me to strive for that kind of quality in my own artwork.
AP: Did you have formal training if so what? If your self taught can you tell us what you prefer about being a self taught artist vs having formal training?
MM: I took one (required) art class in high school. Everything else I’ve learned on my own with the help of books, videos, and online tutorials. I tend to focus on only the kinds of art I like, and put in most of my time and effort into learning theory and techniques that will help me create the specific types of art I want to create. The truth is, I do wish I had some formal training in other areas. I think a formal training would help in creating a more well rounded artist. I almost exclusively work digitally, and think that some training in art history, color theory and painting or sculpting would open up even more possibilities for my artistic expression.
AP: Can you tell us about where you make your work is it in your house, a studio, etc… and how it effects your work?
MM: I have an office in my house that I use when creating nearly all of my art. It consists of one big desk in the middle of the room, a chair, a computer, monitors, speakers, lamp, shag rug, one window, two bookshelves filled with toys and books, and a few prints of my own artwork on the walls. I keep it clean and neat for the most part, mainly because the rest of the house is not so neat, and I need somewhere to escape to while I’m creating.
AP: What are some of you favorite design projects/exhibitions you have worked on to date?
MM: I just finished a project for an Austin-based musician/producer and his company called STATX Entertainment. The piece I created for him really pushed the limits of my abilities and kind of rejuvenated my love of 3D modeling. Likewise, a personal project that is one of my favorites is Screamy. For such simple idea, and relative ease of execution, this image has brought me quite a bit of exposure. It was initially submitted to deviant ART as a downloadable desktop wallpaper, and has been downloaded nearly 50,000 times to date. Screamy was also molded into a vinyl toy and sold online for quite some time. And while the piece may not be my most technically impressive, it definitely holds a special place in my heart.
AP: What is your medium of choice?
MM: I work almost exclusively on my computer creating digital artwork. Mostly 3D modeling, but I am starting to push myself into more and more digital painting and illustration.
AP: What is the relationship between technique and content in your work?
MM: For me, the final outcome is the most important aspect of my work. I try not to get bogged down in the technique, and just find ways to create the best looking content without sacrificing my overall concept. That said, I do tend to spend a lot of time practicing different techniques so that I am familiar with them and can utilize and sometimes combine them to create the look I am after.
AP: In what direction would you like to see your work going over the next five years?
MM: Honestly, I feel that I am just getting started. I’m still trying to find my personal style and realize what it is that I really want to explore next. There are so many different ideas floating around in my head, I just want to be able to explore them all. That may take five years, or ten years, or more…who knows. Basically, I just want to continue to push myself to create as much as possible and hopefully if we meet again in five years, I’ll be able to show you the evidence from the journey that I’ve taken with my art.
AP: What forth coming projects and or exhibitions do you have scheduled for 2011?
MM: For the most part, my slate is clean. I have some big personal projects that I’m going to focus on, and I hope to continue taking on any intriguing commissioned work that comes my way.
AP: Take us on a guided tour through a day in your life as an artist.
MM: Are you sure you want to know? Unfortunately as of late, the majority of my days are spent doing anything but being artistic. But, you did ask, so here goes…wake up, shower, get dressed, feed the baby, get the baby dressed, drive the baby to day care, drive to work, work, lunch, lunchtime sketch session, work more, drive home, playtime with baby, feed the baby, dinner, TV with wife, beer, art, sleep…and repeat.
AP: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.