Interview by Patrick Ogle
Matthews also contributed to the IDW book Zombies Versus Robots Aventure. Anything with zombies has to be good. I chatted with Matthews about his art in general and about his plans.
Tell me about how you started painting and how this moved into the realm of graphic novels?
Well, I really started painting when I was a kid, I am not sure of the age, something around ten or eleven. I had been drawing long before that, as my dream when I was growing up was to make comic books. Growing up in Mississippi they were my world.
Somewhere along the way, in a story better left untold, I got pulled over into trying to make music. Music was and still is always an uphill battle for me, I was never very good at it, and I think I was more or less trying to be "cool." You know, stand on a stage and have everyone love you; one might feel really accepted then. It wasn't until I released music under the name Saltillo the album Ganglion that I achieved any kind of real success with my own music. For that album I really dug deep into "me" and tried for the first time to make something that just I wanted to hear, and I did not care what others thought of it.
But I think you’re more asking about how I got into painting this time around, and there are two major stories that lead up to it, I will share one.
It was Christmas the year I released the Saltillo album. Now I have always kept sketch books and journals and my wife had seen some birds. I drew and really liked them, in fact she talked about them a great deal, so I thought I would try and paint her a canvas of them for one of her Christmas gifts. It was an amazing experience for me, the smell of the paint brought back so many memories of my childhood and getting something out like that I had not done in a very long time. At that point I was hooked, I really could think of nothing else. Over the next few years I painted as much as I could and I took a few years just to think about the question; did I want to make comic books or not? Finally resulting in me making my own self published book , Ars Memoria. Which, up to this date, was the hardest and most rewarding thing I have done artistically.
What other work have you done?
I had a pin up in Proof #25 ( image comics ), and Zombies vs Robots Aventure (IDW publishing) a four issue mini series of which I have the first nine to eight pages of, plus a great deal of independent covers and pin ups.
What is upcoming--near and FAR? What are your future plans for your art?
God, I wish I could tell you the things I am working on right now, I am extremely excited about them , they are truly like dreams come true, but I have signed confidentiality agreements that will not allow me to talk about them at all. All I can say is I am working on two new projects with IDW Publishing.
(We will keep our eyes and ears open for news on this!-ed)
Talk to me about your art as ART, separate from the graphic novel aspect?
If you thought my answer to your first questions was long , I could make this one a book. So I will try and sum it up a bit.
I heard a writer once say, that he did not really write things, and much as he just wrote it down. Painting for me is a great deal like that, if I could articulate it with words I would not have to paint it. It is the need to manifest the internality of my own psyche. To place in the external world my own personal internal architecture, iconography, tropes and loci, connecting them together and seeing them in ways that my psyche does not naturally do outside of dreams, to the point that resolution was a forgone conclusion.
Yes I am quite insane.
What are you trying to get at with your painting?
Matthews lives and paints in Chicago. You can buy his works at finer comics shops or online at the Menton 3 website.
For more on IDW Publishing and ZVR Aventure go to the IDW website.