Catch up with Matt Reid

Today we chat with Bradford-based artist Matt Reid. Find out how it all started, Matt's creative process, and advice he recommends when starting out. 

What is your main practice? Did you study at University?

I guess my main interest is in collage /illustration and transferring that to print in an interesting way. I studied at Leeds College of Art & Design in the early 00’s but I never pursued any further education after that. I was far too impatient to be earning a crust and so I started out as a Graphic Designer in a small family-run printing firm in Leeds.


How did you get into graphic / illustration design?

I started out mainly by creating gig posters and t-shirt/record designs for friends in bands and fellow promoters. I also promoted my own gigs in and around Leeds too, so I used the opportunity to experiment as you could basically do whatever you wanted to. As time has passed, I’ve refined my style and discovered my likes and dislikes over the years.

You have lots of beautiful riso prints, do you have a favourite?

My favourites at the moment are probably the triptych of botanical illustrations I’ve just recently completed (Still Life, Eucalyptus/Marbled Vase). They hold a lot of meaning and emotional value for me and it was quite a departure from the usual collage-based work I’d become known for. It's good to challenge yourself from time to time and this felt like a positive new direction I was proud of.

Do you like any other print method? – if so which ones?

I’ve been itching to work on an idea of using linocut printing in the form of arranging hand-cut patterns applied to a grid-like system but in alternating combinations. Then each print would use the same patterns but in different sequences and colours, effectively providing a unique print each time. On paper, it sounds great to me, but it's finding the time and sometimes the confidence to just get on with it. Now I’ve said it, I have to do it now don’t I?

YES, WE THINK YOU DO! THAT SOUNDS INCREDIBLE.

Any advice for anyone that is thinking of starting their own independent brand?

Just do what you want to do and see where it goes. What’s the worst that could happen?

What is your favourite design? Do you have any favourite designers?

Old favourites would include El Lissitzky, John Stezaker and Joan Miró to name a few but I can’t get enough of more modern artists like Robert Beatty, Bjorn Copeland and Sam Ryser who are all phenomenal in their own disciplines and deserve more recognition. I guess their work is heavily connected with music and subculture, which I have an affinity with also.

What inspires your designs, do you have a creative process you go through? If so what steps does this include?

When working in collage, I like to scour antique shops and flea markets hunting down weird old magazines and books for reference material I can repurpose. Then it’s a case of spending hours endlessly cutting out and arranging them in an aesthetically pleasing way, before scanning and digitally manipulating them. I’m my own worst critic so I often go through 10 or more drafts before I land on something I deem passable.

When I’m illustrating though, my preferred medium is brush and ink, and will often redraw flower illustrations in many different ways until the illustration and texture is what I’m looking for. I then like to scan the individual illustrations in and arrange them, a little like flower arranging but not as you know it.

 Do you have favourite themes you like to focus on?

Not particularly as such, but I am drawn more towards the ominous and eerie end of the spectrum. Which probably stems from an unhealthy love of horror, sci-fi, punk, and noise.

Any big plans for the future? Any cool collaborations lined up that we should watch out for?

I’m currently organising a string of local events in my local area of Shipley, Bradford as part of a collective effort called Endless Hum, which is getting exciting. Each night will be hosted at the Kirkgate Centre and will bring together experimental music, subculture, art, and good people in the local area. We’re hoping to announce the first dates in early 2022.

I’ve also just completed a new record sleeve design for two of my favourite noise-rock bands in the UK and US, Plus one of my favourite record labels of all time are involved too, but frustratingly I can’t really announce anything about that until they do.

Other than that, I’m enjoying releasing my own prints in my own time and taking it easy.

WOW! It sounds like you have been busy. We can't wait for the dates to be announced, hopefully, we can pop up and check out all the fun!  

We can't wait to see what other weird and wonderful art pieces you release over the next few months!