Matt Mills Experimental Visual Art from the Mind
For Matt Mills, the psychedelic artist from Austin, Texas, the best inspiration is simply losing himself in the music, playing with the art, and taking the journey. His colorful and mind-bending pieces of work resemble an amalgamation of experimentation. We put Matt in the hot seat to talk everything art, bears, and his newest project, Art Grab, which allows artists to license their work for music covers and posters — while making a few bucks on the side.
Age/Sex/Location: 42/M/Austin, Texas.
Hair color: Brown.
Shoe size: 12.
Strangest thing in your fridge right now: A meat log—for the dog.
Best Bear: Black. Obviously.
Are we alone in the universe? No. It seems inconceivable to me that with everything that we don’t know about the universe, there are no other living beings out there. Plus, the spirit elves told me that we’re not. And, I believe them.
What are you afraid of? Heights.
If you could have dinner with any three people from the past, who would it be? Hunter S. Thompson. Leonardo di Vinci. Jim Morrison.
What are you most thankful for? My health. As I’ve gotten older, and seen others close to me suffer through various illnesses and crippling addictions, I’ve become very grateful for making it through my younger years relatively unscathed. I can definitely appreciate that much more now than I could when I was younger.
Where do you seek inspiration from? I typically don’t seek out inspiration or look to other artists to get inspired. For me, simply sitting down and putting on some music is enough to get me inspired to create something. In that sense, I guess you could say that music is my inspiration.
Tools of choice: I mainly use Photoshop these days with a plugin called FilterForge. I use Cinema 4D occasionally if I need any 3D elements as well. Another trick I like to pull out sometimes is using apps on my phone to create some interesting effects and overlay those onto my artwork in Photoshop.
What are your roots like artistically? I was a doodler as a kid. I’d spend hours in my room just drawing and listening to music. In high school, I got into drafting (architecture) and then worked with CAD a bit on the school’s computers. I ended up going to college and studying computer science though and spent those years not making any art. After college is when I really dove back into creating. I used Maya to create 3D artwork initially and over the past 6-7 years, I’ve moved to more of a hybrid style that combines 2D and 3D elements.
Do you have a plan when you start creating? Or is it mostly exploration? It’s almost always exploration when doing my personal work. As I mentioned before, I use music to put me in that flow state and just go from there. The colors and compositions just come from playing around with the design for hours until I feel it has a unique look. It’s honestly a very freeing way to be able to work. No restrictions, just let the music guide the journey. For client work though, I’ll typically have some restrictions. But I make it very clear before we start that I do my best work when able to experiment quite a bit. It always works out well in the end if we agree on that.
You mention on your Instagram that you’re an engineer - what are you working on behind the scenes that isn’t visible on Instagram? My main focus for the past couple of years has been a project called Art Grab. It is a platform that allows artists to exclusively license their artwork and animations to musicians and record labels for use on album covers and posters. I’ve built the entire software stack and infrastructure for the project and continue to add features as the platform grows.
Who do you look up to in the art community? For me, it’s really artists and designers that I’ve followed for many years that are creating the type of work that I love. People like GMUNK, Ash Thorp, Beeple, and James White are just a few that come to mind right now.
Links to everything (website, prints, licensing info, NFTs, etc.) can be found here: https://mattmills.link/. And, of course, please check out our company Art Grab if you’re interested in licensing unique digital artwork from a selection of over 5,000 independent artists.