You see graffiti on the streets and read through cool fonts online and in magazine, but you never really think about how this stuff comes to be on paper first. The first time I got the chance to flip through Matt Redway's drawing book, I couldn't believe that he did this stuff all by hand with a felt marker. There's something so intriguing about an art form that you feel like you could never do yourself and lettering is totally one of those things. I got to sit down with Matt when he helped me out with the graphic for Road Apples and I couldn't help but want to do an Artist Profile with him.
ASL: 30 / M / Vancouver, BC
Where are you from and what did you go to school for? I'm From just outside London originally, went to Sussex university to study Psychology. Then I moved to Perth, Australia, and studied just enough graphic design to get a job for a small local studio.
How did you start doing lettering? I basically have always loved drawing letters, I used to draw big graffiti pieces all over my books at school. I just didn't know you could make a living out of it until much later on. When I started studying graphic design I rediscovered my passion for drawing letters and have done it ever since, for fun as well as for work.
Do you consider yourself more an artist or more a graphic designer? Well I'm definitely a graphic designer at my day job, because we get given briefs which we then interpret into creative work, which then has to get past various levels of management before getting approval. I guess I'm more of an artist in my spare time since I sort of just draw and paint whatever I feel like (that's where the paintings of colourful dancing characters came from) with no client or boss telling me that it's not quite the right feel, or asking if we can just add some more "pixie dust" (yes, a client actually said that once!)
Where are you working now and what does it entail? I work at Lululemon's Head Office in Kits, designing branding for some of their initiatives, such as the SeaWheeze festival and Holiday campaign. I've even managed to sneak some hand-lettering into the latter, which is sweet! I've also been allowed to paint a massive mural on one of our interior walls which is letting me live the graf artist life I've always wanted.
What would be an ultimate goal/dream come true for you and your work? To make a solid living from just lettering, calligraphy and painting murals.
What inspires you to really love a piece that you are working on? No idea. Sometimes a piece looks rad in my head and then looks crap when I draw it out, but sometimes it unexpectedly comes together and I love it. If it's pure lettering or calligraphy, then spacing is a big thing - if I can get the spacing right between letterforms, then I usually buzz off it.
Who influences you the most, art wise or not? Art-wise: Keith Haring, Ed Templeton, the french guy, Don Pendledon, Fos, Steven Harrington, Geoff McFetridge, Kevin Lyons, anyone with a skate or graf background or that paints bright bold, colourful characters or shapes. Lettering and type-wise: Ken Barber, Sergei Shapiro, Gemma O'Brien, Erik Marinovich, Kris Sowersby, David Milan... There's tons more than I can't think of right now - the internet is full of talented people!
More of Matts work on his site www.mattredway.com