Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Interview: Matt Dixon

Starting off '06 we're trying to find the time to get some interviews of our members up on the blog to offer a little bit of a peek info what they are upto, and where they are coming from.

The first "lucky" victim is Matt Dixon!

Hey Matt. How are you?

Hi, Jon. I’m well, thanks.

So, Heavy Metal magazine are about to print some of your work! Tell us a bit about that - how did that come about?

I wish there was an interesting story to weave around my first appearance in such an iconic publication, but I’m afraid there isn’t; I sent Kevin Eastman some of my work, and he asked if he could feature me in the mag! If only it was always that simple, eh?

Can you say anything about the work? What sort of things are seeing print?

It’s a gallery feature, so there’s no new work involved. I haven’t actually seen what’s been published yet, but I understand it’s four pages of paintings accompanied by a short bio.

Heavy Metal is reknowned certainly in the States, as focusing on a European-style of work. Would you agree with that, and do you think you have Euro Style? Do you like Euro Style? What the heck is Euro Style?

Perhaps someone stateside would have a better insight into that question than I. In the context of comics, I think perhaps us Europeans ( and this applies far more to continental Europe than the UK ) have traditionally been more experimental. Maybe this comes from a more diverse market in Europe, which seems to favour narrative rather than character driven stories? I don’t really see a clearly defined ‘Euro Style’ as far as the art goes, however.

Mam Tor Publishing are also printing your first sequentials! That's some esteemed company to be printed in! At the risk of repeating a question can you tell us anything about how that came about?

Much the same as with Heavy Metal. Mam Tor, and the Event Horizon anthology which features my work, is the brain child of veteran comic artist Liam Sharp, aimed at publishing work which is created for the love of the medium. Liam saw my work, and asked if I’d like to contribute. I was nervous at the idea of producing my first sequential work, but the process was extremely satisfying, not least because of the encouragement and support offered by Liam and the rest of the Mam Tor family. I really can’t speak highly enough of those guys. What they’re trying to accomplish over there deserves all the support they can get.

(c)2006 Matt Dixon

You're very prolific! Do you have a strong work ethic?

I don’t really think too much about it, Jon. Painting pictures is what I enjoy most, so I tend to do it as much as I can..!

You work at a computer games company right? So what does that job entail?

It varies considerably from day to day and project to project. It’s a great industry to bein from that point of view. I have a lead position, so the one constant in my working life is a fair dollop of meetings and email action, but the rest of the time is taken up with creative duties of one kind or another which offsets that ‘work’ aspect nicely. Most recently, I’ve been working on environment concept art for our current project. Ordinarily, this would concentrate largely on the way things look in a particular location and establishing some ‘rules’ that should help create a coherent visual design. However, as the project in question is a movie license which has a well-defined look already in place, I’m concentrating my efforts more on the lighting scheme, location layouts and key dramatic events.

What do you like most - drawing or painting?

Painting. Lines and I don'’t get on too well.

Do you have a definite process when you make work, or are you more of a "make it up as I go kinda guy?"

I have a process in as much as I approach each picture in pretty much the same way these days – sketch, values, underpainting, rendering, finish – but it’s a very organic process and I’m happier reacting to what’s happening on the canvas ( screen ) rather than following a plan laid out before I start work, so things are constantly changing while I work.

Who's your favourite artist?

What a question! I’ll spare you the tedious ramble listing all the major figures in illustration in the last century; if I had to pick just one artist, I’d have to go for Norman Rockwell.

Go on, give us a one liner piece of pithy advice for upcoming artists!

Don’t waste your precious time with trivial distractions like the internet, TV or friends – GET DRAWING!

(c)2006 Matt Dixon

What's the plan for 2006? Any more sequentials?

Maybe. I’m very busy right now with commissioned work but I have a few personal projects which are long overdue for attention, so I’m hoping to spend some time with those later in the year.


Thanks to Matt for taking the time out to have a chat! Here's some useful links where you can see more of his work, and check out some of his publishers:
Matt's Homepage
Matt's Award winning "Master and Servant"
Mam Tor Publishing
Heavy Metal
Norman Rockwell Museum