Featured artist Matthew Thomas is a Wirral based photographer working in graphics whose work is constructed using both traditional and digital methods. He uses his own mathematical formula to create specially shot imagery using natural forms.
We spoke to Matthew about his inspiration as an photographer and where he finds inspiration for his art.
Q: Which medium(s) do you work in?
A: As a contemporary photographer and former fine art painter I naturally create images that blur the boundaries of the two disciplines. Subject matter is at the forefront of my projects; it is only after I consider the topic that I deliberate on what medium to use. When it comes to what mediums are appropriate for a body of work, I do not consider that anything is out of limits. Though I have an artistic background based primarily in photography and photographic manipulation, I have worked with a variety of printing methods, including lenticulars.
I tend to prefer simplicity, but I have a great appreciation for what a creative team can bring to a shoot. For portraits/headshots the retouching needs to be very light (unless specified from the outset). Within this practice I have moved from intense manipulation (through the use of Photoshop / Maya) to a more holistic and increasingly simple practice. I am currently experimenting printing on a number of 3D objects in collaboration with artists who work in different materials and disciplines. The work in my current portfolio is the third iteration of my “Kaloseidos” series.
Q: Describe your style of art.
A: ‘Photographic abstraction’ is how I would describe my particular art style. This term encompasses the conceptual elements of my photographic work, which I incorporate during the processing stages of my photography. Instead of approaching subject matter from a direct and familiar slant, I instead choose to deviate into more experimental territory. This may be discerned through my bold use of colour, manipulation of shape and composition, or even the way in which I go about presenting my work to an audience.
Q: When did you begin your career in art?
A: I have worked creatively all of my life and first exhibited at the age of 11 (Royal Academy, London). I have been a professional photographer / graphic designer / film maker for many years.
Q: Who or what inspires your art?
A: I derive inspiration for my art from the everyday. From conversations about current topical events to films and advertisements, my motivation for creating art can be found in places that are not necessarily grandiose. Whilst I ensure that I learn from those who have come before me, I look to future trends and shifts in culture to drive my work forward.
Q: What is one of your favourite pieces that you have done and why?
A: My favourite piece (not pictured here) is Lenticular dance work commissioned by Culture Liverpool “The Paradigm Effect”. The reason? It was a challenge to make a work that depicted dance / movement in a 2D photographic form.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am currently working on piece that merges a classical music symphony with a “coded” digital projection using my own formula.
Q: What would your advice for an emerging artist be?
A: If I were offer advice to anyone contemplating a career in the arts, it would be this: do not let money drive your work. I believe that monetary gain is not the most important aspect of a creative pursuit; the people you meet and experiences you have that will enrich your life, in ways that outshine what financial gain could offer you. Be brave and constantly experiment, tread your own path, don’t waste energy competing with others, and accept criticism and compliments with equal measure.
You can view Matthew’s full portfolio here.