It won’t be wrong to say that Boston based illustrator and designer Matt Medium paints our dreams. Or to be more precise, our bizarre, grotesque, vividly macabre but fascinating dreams. His art is laden with bizarre composition, skewed proportions, surrealist drawings and phantasmagoric representations. There is an element of the unexpected among the expected, the fantastical amongst the mundane.
From an early age, Matt began doodling on loose sheets of paper, on the back of his homework, on the desks and bathroom walls of his school. His young impressionable mind developed a predilection for the fantastical through exposure to artist like Dr. Suess and Bill Peet, growing up on TV shows like Ren and Stimpy or Beavis and Butthead, and reading National Lampoon and MAD Magazine.
In an exclusive interview with Emaho Magazine Matt Medium tells us, “A lot of the time I like to start drawings on top of other drawings or on marked pages or just start with scribbling out nothing in particular and just see what I can come up with. I guess it’s like discovery through drawing or trying to birth creation out of mistakes so to speak.”Matt’s reply is akin to the process of “surrealist automatism” which seeks to relax all conscious control over what one draw. Evidently, snakes, skulls, winged pigs; fantastical animals, other worldly creatures are repeatedly employed in his artistic vocabulary as an exercise into expressing the sub-conscious.
Unlike the great surrealist artist Salvador Dali, Matt Medium does not believe his art is endemic of death and decay. “I think of my work more as creating, and imaging things in ways that they don’t exist. Those creatures may be grotesque and strange but I like to think that I’m giving them life and character not killing them or insinuating their death or decay,” quips Matt.
Though Matt prefers the portability and convenience of a sketchbook which allows him to work on his art no matter where he is or where he goes, he also has a bunch of larger drawings and in fact is currently working on cutting up a few of his books and putting them together to create a much larger singular piece of work.
Quiz him on how Matt’s “Alice in Wonderland” would look like and he is quick to elaborate “Probably a lot like H.G. Wells’ Island of Doctor Moreau. In the story, Doc Moreau does some bizarre Frankenstein type experiments on animals and humans creating new types of organisms, in my mind Alice’s wonderland would involve more than just talking cats and caterpillars.”
While he is aware of a medley of responses his art can evoke, Matt clarifies “I have never really made art with an audience in mind. Drawing has always been more a personal pleasure, a Zen meditation in many ways. If people see my work and find it interesting I think that is great, if they find it weird, disturbing and hate it ; well in the words of Paul Simon “who am I to blow against the wind.”
Currently, Matt illustrates for startup companies, local musicians and bands in Boston, gig posters logos, hand bills, T-shirts, magazines beside commission works. And what inspires him to continue his pursuit?
“Musicians like Tom Waits, The Meat Puppets, or Mission Of Burma, Artists Like Ralph Steadman, Robert Williams, and Basil Wolverton, Authors Like Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Robbins, all have had a tremendous effect on the way I look at and interpret the world”, Matt Medium shares with Emaho magazine.“Although I would say the biggest inspiration is seeing the work of other young artists and designers, it makes me want to work harder and create more.”
Written and Interviewed by –Habiba Insaf
Art work by: Matt Medium