Matt O’Halloran — ARTIST

Matt O’Halloran

Interview with the artist Matt O’Halloran —

1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name’s Matt O’Halloran, I’m an emerging artist coming out of the south west of England. I studied Illustration at Plymouth University and I’ve been drawing since I could walk and basically fallen into drawing classes and groups as I’ve gotten older. I grew up drawing with whatever I could find be it pens, pencils, paintbrushes and I’m sure at one point or another other things you’re not supposed to draw with. But I knew early on that I wanted to do this as a career, now I’ve appeared in several exhibitions in my short career across the country and worked on a number of local commissions and I’ve developed a style that’s built up over the years from the core belief that you don’t fancy equipment and expensive tools to draw, just and idea and enthusiasm to want to do it!


“The book and its cover”


2. Why art?
I think art is something a naturally gravitate to, I never knew it as a kid but I was using it as an escape from real life and just draw these surreal worlds and figures that I’d obsess over and totally forget where I was because id just be in my own imagination and it would always be fund at the same time. I actually disconnected from art for a few years as soon as it became a form of ‘study’ or ‘job’ as it became something I had to do but not what I wanted to do but the second it was all done academically I found my love of it again and it developed over that time as well. Art has become a tool of expression now above anything else as I’ve always had an extremely difficult time trying to open up and talk but I can produce it visually with ease so with a lot of what I illustrate you might see glances of emotion, mental states or even just a viewpoint of current affairs it all just depends really but the point is I’ll express visually what I can’t verbally.


“Carry Us”


3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
I don’t really have any memories from when I was a kid so I can’t really pin point anything specific, I was coerced into watching Bob Ross every Sunday which only made me disengage with painting, scenery and colour for a long time. But I do know that I was the sort of kid who would basically spend his early summers hidden away in his room constantly drawing dinosaurs, dragons and other animals. It was only when I got older I started drawing people more which may have been the result of some of the influences I had studying it, I can’t really say to be honest but everything I would do intentional or not was leading me down a creative path.




4. What are your favourite subjects and media’s?
My favourite subjects are typically of people, when I started really focusing on my drawing I would typically draw woman as I enjoyed how there facial structure complimented my drawing at the time. It took a long time for me to get out of that comfort zone and try different subject matter, such as animals and objects. My favourite media is basic tools such as fine-liners and inks I’ll normally find cheap online. This really stems from my childhood as I’d always draw with pencils, Biro’s and whatever was lying around and over time this has built a core belief that you don’t need fancy equipment or rely on digital media to display your imagination and be creative, I also much prefer a hands on approach and really really dislike computers, nothing frustrates me more than a computer/laptop not working!


“Fuck the Corporations”


5. How do you work and approach your subject?
I have quite a long and drawn out approach to a lot of my drawings, they’ll be some where I just draw for the hell of it and perhaps come back to after a couple weeks/months. Typically though I’ll spend a fair while planning out what I want to do, this will involve a lot of random images I’ve found online with a few of my doodles outlining a general idea and putting pieces together on an outdated version of Photoshop I have lying around to play around with before I get something I want to start drawing. I have a hard drive with about 20/30+ folders for different drawings I want to do so i’m never out of ideas as much as I think I am and it really helps to keep me going and never running out of options to explore!




6. What are your favourite artworks/ artists?
I have huge lists of artists on my hard drive alongside my folders full of ideas that I can refer back to that can help such as Banksy, James Mylne, Gabriel Moreno and so many more for different reasons. During my years in University I was in love with the art that Mark Powell and David Bray produced when I wasn’t really using colour in my illustrations and they were often black and white, as I’ve grown as an artist though so as my inspirations, Right now I look a lot at the work of David White and Sara Paglia particularly as each use colour in their art to some degree which I’ve since started doing with a lot of success! What all of my favourite artists have in common though is they all have a hands on approach to their illustration and that’s what I admire more than anything.


“What do you see”


7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
I’ve had a lot of positive responses to my work from the exhibitions I’ve done, the majority have been as a returning artist in a little gallery in Plymouth where I had a lot of positive reception and people wanting to talk to me about my work. The standout has to be a recent exhibition I appeared in over the Christmas period where a number of the artists there actively sought me out to learn more about what I did and why and had a lot to compliment and criticize which was brilliant to get so much feedback! As the illustrations I put up were very different to the more traditional art on display which was a good choice thankfully as it’s meant I’ve been shortlisted for a street art exhibition later this year which will be incredible!


“The Nation Just Loves Coke”


8. What do you like about your work
This is probably the hardest question for me to answer because overall there’s a lot that I don’t like. I’ve always found that I’ll do a lot of drawings fairly similar then I’ll do something that just send it to a whole new level that makes me dislike everything before it, if that makes sense in anyway? I suppose the bit I like most about the work is adding the colour, throwing the ink across the page, letting it drip down, that I find is the bit I most enjoy and where a lot of the energy comes from I feel. But then about a year and half ago everything was monotone and I would of said drawing figures and faces specifically so it really changes.


“No strings on me”


9. what advice would you give to other artists
Honestly I’m probably not the best person to give advice as I’m know where near the position I want to be in to be giving any advice, I still message artists in the community that have been doing it for 20 years now and the most common thing they’ve all said is to maintain your social media, most of your time will probably be spent advertising yourself more than anything and I don’t know how true that is because I’m not the greatest at doing it. I suppose the Advice I could give is make yourself known, show your art wherever and whenever you can and its always worth asking established artists that inspire you how they got there and if there’s any tips they can give as it has really helped!


“In last place we have first place”


10. where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years? I have absolutely no idea honestly but then I don’t think many people truly know, in that sort of time hopefully I would of made a big enough impact with my illustration that I can be doing is as a full time career. I’m not the sort of person that’s interested in being rich or anything I just want to be able to do what I enjoy full time so ion that time I hope to be established enough that I can do that and survive of it.



Matt O’Halloran