Many of life's great discoveries are made by chance, and this story is no different. Staying true to my narcissistic ways, I decided to Google myself. Unfortunately, there were none of the stellar forums discussing my life I had envisioned. What I did find though, was an artist from Melbourne, who strangely enough, is also named Matthew Dunn. Before I even checked out his work I knew it was going to be amazing. I mean how it could not be with a name like that?
Matthew is a full-time artist, operating out of his home studio in Melbourne. A studio he shares with his fellow artist/dressmaking wife and 2 cats, which are often perched on the windowsill watching him work. His skill set is diverse and his work ranges from everything from album covers, comics, t-shirt designs, exhibitions and more. While Matthew bounces around a few different approaches to his art, there tends to be an ever present illustrative/comic book influence.
This influence in Matthew's work stems from his youth. "I still have fond memories from childhood of sitting in front of the TV watching Saturday morning cartoons with a stack of comics next to me. Something I continue to do to this day. While my own personal goals in regards to comics are focused on characters of my own creation, there's still a little voice in my head that whispers ‘draw Batman, draw Batman,’" he explained.
Art for Matthew is rarely done for purely aesthetic purposes, but at the same time, he doesn't really talk very openly or freely about the meanings behind a lot of his art. "I think imposing my own strict meaning of the art on people robs them of the chance to develop their own unique relationship to it" he said. However, when asked to describe the themes of his art, Matthew usually refers to it as "melancholic hope," acknowledging both the ugliness and beauty of the world we live.
The process by which Matthew develops works depends on what he is working on at the time. He explains, "comics require a lot more pre-planning, whereas t-shirt designs generally start as a random idea that pops into my head which I can sit down and drive straight into. For my exhibitions, I generally have a tight overall theme." Every morning, Matthew will also do a quick warm-up ink sketch to start the day, which he feels helps to wake up the brain and loosen up the hands, and quite often the ideas that spring forth in those sketches will find their way into other things he works on.
Currently, Matthew is working on pieces for a joint show with his friend Kaitlin Beckett, who also happens to be one of his favourite artists. "Our styles are worlds apart from each other, but we're tackling similar themes for this exhibition … I'm excited to see how it all turns out" he said. He is also putting the finishing touches on the second volume of his "Sketches" series of books, and has recently finished working on the art/design of a new Crippled Black Phoenix live album. "It's a triple vinyl gatefold, with a really unique structure to it that was one of the most challenging/rewarding projects I've ever been involved in" he adds.
Additionally, in a few months, the print version of his web comic The Secret History Of… will be released. He is also working on a new comic series featuring his gas-masked character 'Leroy,' who appeared in his first graphic novel Lonely Monsters and has also made his way on to a stack of t-shirts and skateboard decks. If you would like to check out his work, you can do so at www.matthewdunnart.com