In another of our Spotlight series..in which we shine a light on artists across the creative spectrum..Daniel David Gothard meets artist Matt Green.
Since completing his degree in 1996, Green has found his work in demand. In 2007 he made it through the first round of voting in the BP Portrait Award.
Find out what he has to say about his work, his inspirations and what drives him.
What inspires your work?
There is no bright, burning light of inspiration- it’s very much more a case of drawing and painting being something i’ve done for quite literally as long as i’ve been able to hold a crayon and so creating art is just a fundamental part of who I am.
Of course, getting that shot of adrenalin when I experience the work of people I admire, whatever field of creativity they are in, is hugely important in terms of pushing me forward when I am flagging but there is no ‘one’ specific person or thing that illuminates my way.
What do you consider your greatest artistic achievement to date and why?
I am very stoical in my approach to life and therefore I don’t really have a single greatest artistic achievement. I see all the paintings i’ve made as a long, strange trip with plenty of failures and mistakes intermingled with occasional moments where everything coalesces into a satisfying whole. But I don’t dwell on either state of affairs- learn something and move along quickly, I say
What’s your view on “Art for Art’s Sake”? Do you feel your work needs an audience to be ‘complete’?
As far as i’m concerned, I paint entirely to please myself- if anyone commissions a portrait from me, they are trusting me to deliver a slice of myself and, if I am satisfied with the image, then they are getting what they asked for.
One can not second guess taste unfortunately, so whether one of my pieces is sat in my loft or proudly displayed in a clients living space, I know I put an equal amount of effort into creating that piece.
Do you work best alone or in a collaboration?
I absolutely work best alone- i can’t imagine collaborating with anyone beyond the initial stages of deciding upon what a client wants from me
What best advice would you give to an artist starting out in your field?
Although I haven’t practiced what I preach, my advice would be work, work, work, work and follow that up with more work- and top all of that off with only doing what makes you happy. Don’t try to alter your style for any reason other than your own deeply felt desire to change
What are you working on at the moment?
A couple of portraits..both in varying stages.
Who or what is your greatest influence and why?
As a child, the artists at 2000AD really got me buzzing such as Mike McMahon, Carlos Ezquerra, Massimo Belardinelli, Ian Gibson etc.
Then as a student it was Caravaggio, Scheile, Freud, Hockney, Peter Howson, Modigliani, Robert Crumb, Chuck Close and Gerhard Richter.
If I had to pick one influence though it would be the career of Metallica- start out by doing what you love and continue to do what you love, without compromise
How have you suffered for your art?
I haven’t, thankfully!
Matt Green on Twitter @qotsa909