We like a fearless artist—an artist willing to try anything once in the name of their craft, be it a new inspiration, medium or personal method. Enter Matt Andres: fearless abstract artist-designer. Free of impeding form, Andres creates on the basis of personal inspiration and musing; whichever life each idea takes is a direct result of the process. He looks at art as a problem waiting to be solved, a blank canvas or screen itching to be made into something substantial; the results are a medley of unlikely colors and textures from the various angles they manifest. (His artistic pseudonym of sorts is “Work The Angle,” a credit to the varied angles in his life and his work.)
Andres creates psychedelic highs and lows, a visual depiction of the beats in his headphones driving his process where it needs to go. His is a labor of mediation, drawing from life and the unlikely sites and sounds it mashes together. Be it acrylics, inks, a pen or the rigid lines of a computer, his work is bound together by the conceptual limits Andres finds himself in at any given moment. We caught up with Matt to talk about the man behind the mind and the mind behind the method:
Give us the Matt Andres lowdown: Who are you? What do you do? Why do you do it?
I am an abstract artist/designer who uses ink, acrylics, computers and anything else that leaves a mark. Originally the only reason I started my work was to have something to do while listening to music. I learned at a young age that I would rather be a fan of music than be involved in creation aspect of it. It’s funny that I am now really involved with the creation of music through all of the album cover designs I’ve worked on these past few years.
Now there are a few more reasons why I try to create something every single day. I do this for my sanity (the meditative aspect to creation), it’s inspiring others and because I believe the work I do has an originality to it that isn’t out there already.
How would you define your artistic style? How has your work transformed since your first few pieces?
It would be really hard to define my work as it’s always shifting and growing on it’s own. The key words would be abstract, psychedelic and organic. Sometimes it’s very detailed, sometimes it’s very minimal. The ideas of balance and contrast often come up within the pieces. The biggest transformation since I started is the focus on a more minimal and dark style while still doing my detailed drawings for the meditation it provides me. There is multiple personalities within the designs I create and trying to hold them all under one umbrella can be very challenging.
What does it take to properly “work the angle?” Tell us a bit about your creative process from the initial vision to the finished work.
There’s always a different way to attack a problem or in this case a design/painting. When I was doing some life drawing (drawing from a nude model) this idea really resonated with me. If I couldn’t figure out how to draw a hand properly there was always a different way to go about it that would solve that problem. Life drawing really opened my eyes as to how creating a visual language of your own can really take the frustration out of the blank page in front of you. I try to implement this ‘work the angle’ idea in more of my life everyday.
The creative process for me has always been a very loose and organic one. Very much ‘freestyling’ throughout the whole piece. The experience I’ve had with graphic art and animation really help with tightening up that loose organic piece in the end. Bringing it together in a more cohesive visually appealing design. With that said I have started playing with the idea of using more guides and planning with my drawings than ever before. I’ve found it really rewarding to use my loose lines within the confines of more rigid geometric shapes.
What do you use to create your pieces? And do you like to play around with mediums or form?
It all depends on what that piece is going to be used for but pretty much anything. If it’s a piece that I know I want to show than it’ll most likely just be ink or acrylic. If it’s something that I’m going to use for a digital design or album cover then I can get really experimental, things like food coloring, cream, shampoo and spray paint. Whenever I use a new material it branches off to a ton of new ideas. Oils and gouche are two mediums I’d like to try but haven’t had a chance to yet.
Tell us about your personal taste in color palette. We see drastic shifts from black and white to bright, electric colors.
Drastic is right. I was trying to push the color spectrum through the roof with some of my older pieces but lately I’ve been very into greyscale and monochromatic color schemes. This change reflects the constant contradiction within me and my work. It’s hard because I always feel like I’m not being loyal to a side of my art and can’t just stick within one area. Hopefully when it’s all said and done this will end up making my body of work much more interesting as a whole.
What inspires your sort of psychedelic aesthetic? Life? Other artists? Music? Drugs?
The biggest influence on my work is music. Often the music I lean towards has a strong drug influence to it. I’ve never been big into drugs, so I’ve always found it odd that it’s what draws me in. I think it’s just because there’s way more creativity and a sense of freedom within that music.
The black and white minimal work I’ve been doing lately is very inspired by life and society. I grew up an only child and I find it really easy to strip down my life and hide away to do my work. I used to fight this urge but lately I’ve become a bit proud of it. What I need to make myself happy is becoming less and less. It might not be the healthiest mindset but for right now it gives me comfort.
Who/what are you currently listening to?
I listen to a variety of instrumental music mostly. Everything from Flying Lotus, L’Orange, Grossbuster and my Cosmonostro fam. Sometimes it’s something a bit darker like Burial or a bit more psychedelic like Mo Kolours. During my day to day life it’s mostly hip hop/rap as it provides the biggest amount of ‘get shit done’ type of energy.
When you’re not creating art, where can we find you? What is your ideal day in your ideal spot like?
The best part of my day is walking my dog (Brooklyn, female French Bulldog) to get a coffee in the morning. It’s heaven for me.
For more from Matt Andres visit his Tumblr and Instagram