Before we get started, I just wanted to clarify that THIS isn’t you is it? Although I’m kind of hoping it could be…
No, that’s not me. Not a half-bad track there for what it is though;-)
Can you tell us a little about what you’re currently working on and how the mind of Matt Lock is dealing with the world right now?
I’m currently working on a bunch of works for a group show in Germany in October. The atmosphere that I’m going for here is a kind of mystery book atmosphere. I am a bit burnt out on being very blunt as I was in my last series of drawings for my solo show in Austin (opened last week at Domy Books).
The mind of Matt Lock is always having trouble dealing with the world because his mind sees the human world as upside down/backwards/insane. His mind tries to search for reasons as to why this is, and most of them are born of a materialistic perspective. The heart comes in and says, “now wait a second everything is not just as is perceived with the eyes..all this can be a mere illusion.” However the mind, always feeling that it is ever so important struggles against this idea. Conflict occurs; escapism is sought.
You have been published by Nieves Book who have thrown such CC favourites as Dimitri Broquard, Misaki Kawai and Jonas Delaborde (to name only 3) into the public domain, how do you see your creations fitting in with the Nieves family and do you have any future plans with Nieves to publish more Matt Lock magic?
I suppose the two books I’ve had published by Nieves fit in with much of their overall catalog as it is made up of rather naïve looking artworks. It’s that naïve or unlearned approach to drawing that links me to a lot of other artists in the catalog. I have no plans at the moment but I’ve already published with Nieves twice so perhaps a few years from now..another project will pop up.
I can imagine many of the landscapes and creatures featured in your compositions translating well in a variety of formats - zines, posters, shirts, artwork for bands and video games even! (capitalist process survives, hurrah!) - When transferring your drawings and paintings from the page to something else which do you enjoy the most and do you have aspirations to expand from off of the page?
I’ve never thought of getting much off of the page save for shirts and zines. Of course I’ve done some work for bands but it’s still on single a page of sorts. I’d say I most enjoy putting booklets together with publishers. T-shirts might be cool, I have had one made and it’s floating around out there..somewhere. I want to do sculptures, digital and non-digital. Of course they take a lot of time and I’m just now learning how to play around with digital sculptures. I am daydreaming lately of the possibilities when I might be able to print out a digital sculpture into a 3d form.
American anti-pop culture seems to permeate throughout your illustrated world, the hooded lizard and slimey monsters are reminiscent of Mike Diana which works so well and adds humour to the page when these counterculture creatures are seen hopping aboard and playing alongside more mainstream icons such as Star Wars characters, cowboy hats and motorcycle gangs. Is this hybrid a conscious effort on your part to prove that opposites attract?
Well a lot of the pop culture stuff is very strong in my earlier work and it begins to recede as the years march onward. I suppose anti-pop culture elements still remain though anything that is way off the radar of pop culture could be classified as anti-pop culture. Sure, I like the idea of mixing up things that don’t go together, but only when it flows naturally and never to make some kind of socially conscious statement.
That was maybe too presumptuous of me though, would you be able to tell us how you are inspired by the cultural terrain surrounding your life and is your creative output affected by the above?
Cultural terrain..hmm. Well I suppose that I see my home country as a kind of failed experiment. It could be said that the post-apocalyptic illustrations that make up a good portion of my “portfolio” are a kind of culmination of all modern backwardness. Of course the whole modern world is backwards but America seems to be a kind of shining beacon..the best representation of it. So I guess that rubs off on me.
Leaving America aside for a moment and jumping over to Japan, I see quite a heavy japanese influence with your creations, the clear line style is reminiscent of Geki-Ga (Japanese term for ‘dramatic’ pictures), do you ever feel compelled to more prominently display the darker Ero Guru (Japanese term for pictures displaying the ‘grotesque’), inspired side, some of your images have hinted at?
I’ve been getting a bit more into some of the Japanese ero guro stuff, especially within the last year and a half. See my newest works from my Hammer of Power solo show; some of them openly embrace the kind of sadism depicted in lighter ero guro works by such luminaries as Suehiro Maruo and Toshio Saeki.
Absorbing and incorporating styles from all over the world is a healthy and informative way to share our ideas and in theory, transcend borders within the process. I can see many styles from all over the world within your practice which is why I believe there is a appeal in your work to artists from all over the world. Have you spent much time travelling and do you have a dream place you aspire to be in the future?
Besides traveling around the U.S. a bit, I’ve only been to Germany and Sweden. I enjoyed Germany a lot but I didn’t get to explore too much as I was installing a solo exhibit. Sweden was absolutely beautiful up north; hardly any people around, crisp fresh air, no light pollution at night. Stockholm was pretty nice I suppose but I preferred the forest. My dream settlement is located somewhere up near the Arctic Circle: Finland, Norway, or Sweden will do. Iceland would be nice but you have to ship everything over there, and this would leave me feeling a bit trapped in a sense. I probably won’t end up anywhere near these places in the future but that’s OK as I truly only want to be where I feel I should be at a particular moment in time.
Back to your creative creatures, the backdrop for your fantastical worlds tend to be on colourful sheets of paper, is there a thought process behind your choice of colour backdrop that relates to the mood conveyed within the image or is it something else that determines your choice?
The pastel paper was nice but I got sick of it and then got really into goldenrod yellow paper. There is no real plan as to what kind of drawing should go on what paper. I just don’t find white paper much fun to draw on..I think I’ve grown too spoiled with all the colored paper as I cannot really stand to work on white paper all that often. It just feels so empty.
How do you feel about collaborating with other artists? Are there any in particular you would be interested in trading ideas with and putting inks/paints to the page with?
For the longest time I’ve been meaning to collaborate with Leon Sadler but it hasn’t happened because I work so slowly and because both of us always seem to have other projects going on.
Does music play a part in inspiring you to draw? could you list five songs you enjoy listening to at the moment?
Sure, I listen to it while I’m working so it definitely influences what I’m drawing whether I’m totally conscious of it at the time or not. Off the top of my head..
morder machine-music for dead brains
lena philipsson-kärleken är evig
Do you have any huge plans for the rest of 2012, going into 2013 (or perhaps now collaborative projects) lined up that you’d like to share with us?
I have a group show in Germany in October at Feinkunst Krueger in Hamburg, an online exhibition with a South Korean publishing company and some work to do for an anthology of grotesque drawings entitled “Do Your Worst.”
Any fellow creative friends you would care to mention?
Not too many. I suppose besides the aforementioned Leon Sadler, I’ve only been following a few other guys: Frederic Fleury, John Chandler, Lane Hangood..especially his great oil painted stuff. I don’t keep up with art stuff all that much, I’m probably missing out on a lot.