Over the past few years there have been a number of British artists who have found acclaim on the US pop culture art scene. Jock, Olly Moss, Adam Simpson, Matt Ferguson and Matt Taylor, to name a few, have all succeeded across the Atlantic. Much like with comics in the mid 90’s, there seems to be an appetite for our particular breed of artistic talent.
Sussex based illustrator and designer Matt Taylor has a particular eye for Americana inspired illustrations reminiscent of the classic comic book art of the fifties and sixties, which may go some way to explaining his popularity. Last week Matt had another excellent poster released through Mondo for the Oscar nominated Dallas Buyers Club, which was another successful sell out!
Matt kindly took time out to chat to us here at Cult Collective about his inspiration, style and process as well as his thoughts on the UK pop art scene.
Dallas Buyers Club Poster by Matt Taylor.
Your artwork is very bold, colourful and eye catching, What was your inspiration when you were first developing your style?
I’ve been illustrating professionally for about twelve years now, so my current style is an accumulation of the influences that have shaped me as an artist. Early on in my career I was focused on doing very comic book style work – pen and ink outlines and palettes that used every color available. I wasn’t really happy with the kind of work I was doing or the clients I was reaching, so I decided to strip back my work to a simpler and bolder style (influnced by guys like Paul Blow, whose art was very influential to me). I lost the majority of my clients, but I stuck at it because I was so much happier with the work i was doing and slowly the work started to roll back in again. I was looking at lots of screen print artists like The Small Stakes and was really impressed with how much they could do with so little color, and so I tried to emulate that.
If I can i’ll watch the movie and just see what speaks to me the most. Sometimes it will be a specific scene, sometimes more the mood, usually a combination of the two. While I watch i scribble notes and doodle ideas and then it’s just a case of drawing them on the computer to see what’s working best.
Brick – Mondo
Having produced artwork for comic book’s (Image Comic’s Zero), novels ( Penguin’s John leCarre series), gallery pieces, including both Gallery 1988 and Mondo, as well as a number of magazine and editorial illustrations, what would you say is your favourite medium and where would you like to take your artwork next?
I think book covers and movie posters are my favorite mediums to work with, because they usually require a single strong image to work, and they have to sell the idea and the tone imediately to the viewer. I was lucky enough at my last ‘day job’ before i went self employed to work on illustrations that were used on just about everything from drinks cans to snowboards. Honestly i’m just happy to be paid to draw for a living, so i’ll put my art on just about anything that is sent my way. That said, I have really enjoyed my baby steps into comic art and there are definitely more comics on the horizon. I’m aiming to split my time between commercial illustration and comics over the next twelve months.
Are there any in particular movies that you would love to produce a poster or piece of artwork for?
Top of my wish list at the moment would be: Almost Famous, The Brothers Bloom, Planet of the Apes, and Dazed and Confused.
There have recently been a number of British artists breaking through in the states such as yourself, Jock, Olly Moss, Matt Ferguson and Adam Simpson. Being a fellow Brit, what are your thoughts on the UK pop art scene and do you think there is scope for it to become as popular over here as it is in the states with the likes of Mondo and Gallery 1988?
I’m so new to this ‘scene’ that I dont really feel qualified to comment, but there’s definitely a growth in popularity happening. I was at Thought Bubble in Leeds last November and the queue for Olly, Jock and Mondo started the night before the convention and ran around the side of the building they were in, so i think that’s a good indication. Most of the work that i’ve been offered has come from the US, but there are people like 5 Reel Film who are doing some interesting things in the UK, so it will be good to see the scene grow.
Princess Mononoke Inspired screen print produced for Gallery 1988’s Crazy 4 Cult exhibition
So, what’s next on the cards for yourself that you are able to share with us?
More drawing. Most of my time is taken up with illustration jobs – book covers, magazine editorials, etc – but there’s some more things in the pipeline with Mondo (including one which is about my favorite thing i have drawn). I hope everyone else likes it that much too.
One thing is clear, Matt is a focused guy and is passionate about the work that he produces. I have to admit, it would be great to see Matt round out a Rian Johnson trilogy with pieces for both Brothers Bloom & Looper. As a comics reader, it’s also great to see that Matt will steadily be increasing his work in that medium, too.
For more of Matt Taylor’s work and to keep up to date with future projects, check out his Website and drop him a follow on Twitter.