We are fortunate to have been able to pick Matt Gondek‘s brain for a bit. This wonderful painter and illustrator hails from Pittsburgh but currently lays his head in Los Angeles. After many years as a freelance illustrator, Gondek decided to pursue his own ideas and creative expressions. His work revolves around the obliteration of many pop culture characters, but leaves them in such a beautiful mess that’s easy on the eyes. Here’s what he had to say:
– What is the first artistic memory that you can remember?
My first artistic memory is sitting at my Grandma’s kitchen table drawing my own X-Men and Spider-Man comics. When I was a kid, I drew those guys constantly. I’d also draw my own video game levels too.
– When and how did you realize that creating art is what you wanted to do as a career and a passion?
I’ve been lucky enough to know I wanted to make art a career since I was a child. It’s the only thing I’ve ever truly cared about. It took me many many tries to figure out how to do it though!
– And why are pop culture characters the subject to your work?
The characters I use are who I grew up with. I really don’t have any formal art training, and when I create I use what I know. A lucky thing has happened in that the characters I use resonate with so many others. It’s an instant connection using a subject matter that they’re familiar with but giving it my own spin.
– Why does your work focus or revolves around destruction? What do you see in destruction that interests you?
I’ve drawn these characters forever. Over and over and over.. it was just a natural progression to start deconstructing them… to try and illustrate them in new ways. One of my favorite things is to do the characters with their heads exploding but still retain the instant recognizability of the character.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I’ve been a freelance illustrator and artist for several years now. Before I began painting I was always stressed and worried about my career path. It’s when I started painting these characters I began to feel calm again and enjoy art. I just hope to continue feeling happy with what I’m doing.
– What are your plans for the near future?
This year I have my a solo show in Los Angeles. I’m also traveling to Las Vegas shortly to do a huge mural for a block party. Lots of other little exciting things going on too. The future is looking bright.
– Any advice you can give to upcoming artist?
The only reason I’m able to do this for a living, is because I kept at it. I know it’s cliche to say the “don’t give up” speech, but it’s 100% true.