By Olly MacNamee
Several months ago now, I was lucky enough to get to sit down and talk to illustrator Matt Dixon at the Birmingham Comic Festival on camera, whom I've been a fan of for sometime now, but whom many of you may not be aware of. Well, if you've ever picked up UK publication, Metal Hammer, or played the globally popular World of Warcraft trading card game, then you're probably more familiar with his fantasy art than you think. Part Simon Bisley, part Frank Frazetta, and mainly self-taught, Matt Dixon produces a style of good girl (with bad attitudes!) art that clearly doesn't take itself too seriously but hints at Dixon's own interests, whether that be the classic Universal Studio's monster squad of Dracula, The Mummy, Frankenstein and The Wolfman or leather bound dominatrix straight out of a Motely Crue video, Dixon takes from what he likes. And, in the past when he hasn't been working behind the scenes on computer game designs, or trading cards, he has independently produced some wonderful coffee table books that best illustrate his paint-like digital art beautifully. Girls on Top Volumes 1 and 2 are already out, with Dixon working on a third volume as I write. So, do take a look at his online shop, as he is one of the UK's most under-rated artists in my opinion and deserves a bigger audience.
Here then, is my first ever on-camera interview (and after a beer or two at that) and more of a chat than anything else) but definitely not my last. My Thanks goes to Adam Yosef too, who was happy to follow this happy drunk around and film whatever came out of my mouth. Thanks also, of course, to Matt himself, who was happy to humour me too as he talked about his influences, his journey to becoming the artist he is today, as well as the many different people he's worked with too.
And, with the interview done and dusted, I now wish to bring your attention to recent developments on Matt's life and his current Patreon crowd-funding campaign.
Recently, Dixon shared with his fans the news no artist ever wants to hear, that his eyesight will begin to deteriorate due to macular dystrophy. It won't be today, or tomorrow, but it will come and this will limit the time he can take – or the time he has left – to create new pieces of art, whether professionally or personally. And so to Patreon, a new way to fund artists and fund them in a way that allows them to continue to produce new work on a regular basis and free from the constraints they may otherwise be under. Unlike Kickstarter and their ilk, this encourages you to be a patron, for a monthly fee (anything from a dollar upwards) rather than offer a one-off pledge. But, it does offer incentives. In Dixon's case, they range from video tutorials to signed limited edition prints (both only available to patrons and dependent on your budget).
Dixon is determined to enjoy each and every brushstroke at his disposal, and I hope that is still for an awfully long time. But, who can tell with these things. Being a freelance illustrator often means no safety net. And, once an artist can't create anymore, then where are they to turn? So, If you think this is your bag, then I've at least pointed you in the right direction.
Olly MacNamee teaches English and Media, for his sins, in a school somewhere in Birmingham. Some days, even he doesn't know where it is. Follow him on twitter @ollymacnamee or read about his exploits at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or don't.