Hello again! I am very excited to announce a new segment to the blog spotlighting local artist/talent from the Colorado area. It’s my privilege today to introduce local designer and illustrator Matthew Johnson working from Denver, CO. Take a look at our interview together and go check at more of his work from the links below.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how did you get into Illustration/Graphic Design?
I was born into a creative clan in Pasadena, California, May 4, 1982. Along with being an art director with Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, my Mother is an amazing children’s book illustrator with over 200 books to her credit.
My father is an award-winning copywriter and founder of Big Honkin’ Ideas, a 20-year-old advertising agency in Santa Monica. It’s safe to say I knew I wanted to do something creative when I grew up. But since the Batman gig was already taken I took to art and design.
2. When did you start freelancing and how do you like it compared to industry work?
In December 2010, I graduated at the top of my class from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida with a degree in graphic design. I’ve worked professionally with Big Honkin’ Ideas since 2010 creating a wide range of projects. These include identities, logos, web design, print ads, PowerPoint, Flash banners and brochures.
When I’m not working I’m usually painting, researching artists and designers for inspiration for my next project, or exhibiting at art walks. In 2009, I started an artist collective called BLK SHEEP MVMNT that showcases my fine art and supplements my commercial work.
I really enjoy working for myself and choosing projects that speak to me rather then corporate work. It is stressful but way more rewarding.
3. Walk us through a typical day
Up at 7. Take the dogs to the park for a couple hours. Then I feed them and myself and check my emails. Working freelance, it’s important that I keep in constant contact with my clients for their needs may have changed. Not really sure how long per day I work. It’s easy to lose track of time when I’m in front of the computer. I always do a bunch of sketches before I go digital and make sure clients like it and sign off before I spend time digitally. Communication is key. And try to sneak some painting in if I have time. Always doing something. I love staying busy.
4. Describe your design aesthetic and where do you draw your inspiration?
Everywhere and Everyone. I think it just depends how you look at things. I see the world through typography, art, and design. I believe it’s important to try and learn and get inspired by everything around me.
Even if I don’t particularly like something I can still learn and inspire from it. Even if its as simple as what I would have done differently. It’s so hard to pin down my favorite designers and artists because the more you dig and research the more you find. Its a big world out there.
5. What are some of your favorite pastimes?
I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon. I drew all the time. I drew on everything — on tabletops, garage doors, on the soles of my shoes, on the tops of my sister’s shoes — on the trunk of my Dad’s restored ’67 Pontiac. I wore my action hero underwear backwards so I could see Batman, Hulk, and Ninja Turtles on the front when I looked in the mirror. I drew them on rolls of butcher paper my folks provided — for once staying inside the lines.
Besides art riding my bike long distances, writing, reading a good book, and trying new things. I am in the process of starting a screen-printing business and dog walking company. Pushing myself in new directions is a must.
Photo credits: Matthew Johnson.