Matthew Burne, an artist/illustrator in his own right. From picking up a paintbrush and composing subjects in the traditional matter to seeking new adventures – he’s on it! First of all Matthew, introduce yourself as an artist…
Hello there, I am an artist and illustrator who would like to be able to make sense of the discernible and abstract things all around. So l often start by drawing chickens.
Favourite inspiration (and you can choose from either a band, writer or even artist)?
I think an unrelenting source of inspiration for me has been Carl Sagan’s book ‘Cosmos’. When I first saw the planet Saturn through a telescope it completely blew my mind. Everything seemed to change. Cosmos happened to be the first book I picked up shortly afterwards. It solidified the wonder that I experienced and spurred my imagination. It’s been a constant resource to return to since. For whenever the world seems to get a little bit smaller, busier and darker.
Talk us through the difference between commissioned pieces of work and personal. How do they balance each other out, if they do so?
For me they tend to mingle at the edges. Ever since I was little I would draw and design things for imaginary products and projects. So now being able to do this for real projects, the commissioned side of work always has a personal enjoyment in it. I’ve found that commissioned work has been a mixed bag of mostly specific pieces (portraiture work and the like) and less free reined pieces. However, I enjoy the constraints given by certain briefs and working out the creative potential within them. The personal work can be the trip away to let the mind wander and ruminate. I’m working on a piece about chickens dreaming at the moment.
Both pieces of work tend to topple the scales at different times, so I’m not sure about them balancing.
So your work in five words would be…
Detailed, Eclectic, Reverie, Space and Nature.
Pick three items from your working studio and explain the reason for doing?
1) Tooth – I guess this is slightly odd but I had to have a tooth out a while back and I managed to keep it, intact. It has a gold cap too. I like to think it keeps pushing me to work hard. It reminds me of the transient nature of the world. Things can come and go. Use the time that I have and NOT to “leave it till later”. Plus it’s an interesting looking object in its own right.
2) Linoleum – I feel like I have been staring at endless sheets for an eon. It’s worth it though every time a print comes out just right.
3) Biro – It has never let me down when needed. Never. It’s also rather versatile as pens go.
Explain your working style and how you manage a client in the first place?
Projects tend to vary, for me I’ve found clients from a mixture of either them seeing previous work or me sending quite a few polite inquiring emails to various Editors, Designers etc. So, because of this, my working style varies. It’s useful to be flexible in my approach. To suit the brief and gauge what the client is wanting. They will often mention that they “liked this and that from previous work” or even sometimes they’ll be quite open to my interpretation of things.
Either way it’s a bit of back and forth, and changes here and there to developing work. I like to start any project by gathering as much inspiring visual imagery and accurate information about what I’m working on. I like to see things away from a computer monitor if I can; the screen glare is no good for long spells. So there are plenty of visits to museums, books and fresh air. (Well, as fresh as the air gets in London). Then ill try and sort out what are the key elements or motifs. Then get some loose and fun drawing down and see what emerges.
Turning it around, what’s the three pieces of advice you’d give a newly graduate that’s just ventured out into the big wide world?
- Carry on studying in your own time whilst continuing to stay enthusiastic and motivated.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself.
- Revitalize and keep indulging whatever it is that turned you ON to your chosen subject. Learning new things only opens new doors. Visit new exhibitions, keep attending talks and try to avoid the downward spiral of overly self-critiquing. Don’t be too hard on yourself and enjoy what you do.