Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Bandsonabudget.com Feature: Behind the Scenes with Artist Matt Goold

In recent years, musicians and art-lovers have had the opportunity to see the work of Matt Goold come to life. His latest project, designing the artwork for River City Extension's new record The Unmistakable Man, has really brought this up and coming artist to light. Through keeping a blog, Matt is able to give fans insight to his life as a designer, as well as share his latest creations. He's always open to taking on new projects, and encourages you to contact him via his blog: http://bcdq.wordpress.com/. The following interview was conducted with Matt to find out a bit more about what goes on behind the scenes and inside the head of a talented, budding artist.

Nina: When did you first realize your passion for art?
Matt: I can't remember a time in life where art wasn't a part of it. My parents are both creative people, and creativity was encouraged and instilled in me from the very beginning. I never made a decision to become interested in art, it was just always something I loved, which I accredit to the fact that it was always present.

Nina: Can you tell me about about your art background (did you go to school for art)?
Matt: I did, I went to Rowan University to study graphic design.

Nina: What was the first project you did for a client?
Matt: I been doing work for "clients" for a while now, because I used to do favors for friends I had in bands, even back in high school. They would need a flyer design, or a t shirt, or a pin, and knew I was doing stuff like that so they'd ask me to help them out, which at the time was helping me just as much as them. Since then, I've evolved and so have the clients. Thankfully, things seem progress quickly and I continue to keep climbing.

Nina: Do you get more or less enjoyment out of doing art for other people, as opposed to creating whatever you want for yourself?
Matt: I honestly get a different kind of enjoyment from both. Working for your own benefit is great, because everything is just free range, you can work how and when you want, and it can be as conceptual or off the wall as you're willing to take it. Working for someone else is different because it becomes a team. You have two or more minds (for better or worse) working towards a common goal, which for sure will allow you to see things differently then you normally would, which is the most fantastic part of it in my experiences. I'd also say that working for someone is a great motivator, no longer can you "do it tomorrow."

Nina: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?
Matt: A lot of ideas literally enter my mind with seemingly no trace. And I feel like I have some sort of responsibility to contextualize them into something visual. But in a much more real sense, I'd say other artists. I feel like I'm always sifting through art that I see and taking from the things I like, to hopefully make something that's clearly my own. It's important to me that I not live in my own excrement so to speak. I need to be refreshed from other people who are doing things more awesome than I am.

Nina: What are some pivotal moments in your career?
Matt: I had the opportunity to intern at an ad agency which put me on the fast track in that field, and in that company. I was literally thrust into a situation where I was dealing with clients on a daily basis, and getting to be a part of branding and creating identities from pretty much day one. I probably learned more there than I did in some classes in school.

Nina: Can you briefly explain the process of creating album artwork from start to finish?
Matt: I like to start by getting the business aspect out of the way. It's the first thing I deal with, so that nothing gets messy down the road, and so that the designing can get started as soon as possible. From there I'll mock up a few ideas based off of what the client had in mind, what I had in mind, and hopefully a nice happy medium. This part is the most fun because it allows for me to test the waters and perhaps show the band something they weren't thinking of. This is also where I put my spin on things, make sure they are recognizably mine. These options get narrowed down as we focus on what the feel of the album should be, until we reach the final version. I'm adamant on making sure the final product is making the client happy, and at the same time, I would never present something I didn't fully stand behind myself. 

Nina: How do you balance out what a band wants vs. what you have in mind?
Matt: This can be difficult depending on how strong their vision is. However I believe that if a band has contacted me about doing work for them, it's because they want me, as a professional designer... with opinions and all! The most important part is that you want to end up with the best possible result... how you get there, should be secondary.

Nina: What did it feel like the first time you saw something you designed come to life?
Matt: To this day, anytime something goes from the computer screen to something as simple as home printer I feel great! While that's an exaggeration (sort of), it seriously is a great feeling to see something come to life. Most recently, seeing the album art I did for River City Extension's The Unmistakable Man was an awesome moment. It was something I worked on for months and to finally hold it in my hands, was unbelievable. Nothing quite like it.

Nina: Where do you see yourself, artistically, in a few years?
Matt: I plan to keep increasing my list of contacts and clients, and corner the area. I've been working to make sure people know a Matt Goold design when they see one. The next step is to make it irresistible. 

Nina: Are there any "ultimate goals" you've set for yourself?
Matt: When things get beyond the control of handling this myself, I plan to start up a design firm. I have a few good friends / great designers who share this goal, and we're all kind of coming from different places, and moving in the same direction. I imagine we'll meet up when the time is right.