Spotlight Interview with Matt G Baron discussing figurative painting, social media and his ambitions …
Thank you for speaking to us about your art journey. Where did it all begin for you?
I’ve loved art since I can remember. As for my actual pursuit, I’d say it all started at school. I hated almost every bit of it, but art was some kind of haven. I loved the subject but I didn’t get on with the teachers very well. This made what one of my teachers said in a parents evening much more surprising. I was expecting to be called out for my laziness and poor work ethic, but instead she said three words which have stuck with me ever since: “He’s a painter.”
From who or from where do you draw inspiration for your work?
I get inspiration at a time everyone does I suppose— when I haven’t asked for it. This can take the form of a certain look someone has, a pose or position, an atmosphere I want to capture. Essentially I’ll see an ‘image’ in front of me and think “I’d love to paint that!” It can be very frustrating for anyone with me when I stop a conversation or a walk to take a photo. Most important of all to me is capturing an essence of something— be it person, animal, or moment. If there’s a piece of my subject’s personality on the canvas, I feel I’ve done my job well.
Do you like to experiment with what you use to create art and how would you describe your artistic style?
I’m always keen to find new and better ways of putting paint on a canvas. At university I was the one you didn’t want to share a studio space with because there was paint everywhere. I wouldn’t say my artistic style is wholly set yet, but my method is to play with expressive and figurative painting to create a genuine response. I want to make something enjoyable to look at with an engaging concept.
Why are your designs so different to other artists within the industry?
All artists are different, all voices unique. I think the easiest way to tell artists apart is by which ‘rules’ they break, for what reason, and how. As for me, I don’t flagrantly break much from the norm in terms of figurative painting, but I do add expression/style as much as I can in terms of mark making and colour— particularly in the areas around the object of the painting. This is often to give the viewer more to look at— either adding vibrancy, mood, or even highlight/complement parts of the subject I want people to notice. I have been told my compositions and viewpoints are not traditional, but they are becoming more recognisable. I think this stems from the influence of television and film, in which the director’s individual viewpoint provides clearer insight to the viewer.
How do you stay relevant and current in a world full of creatives?
To be honest, I don’t. I think if you remain true to your convictions as an artist and strive to remain authentic then your work will always be relevant. As for ‘current’, I feel that making sure you keep in touch with artists who share some of your convictions will keep you in the game.
How has social media impacted on you as judging by your online presence you seem to embrace this?
Social media has allowed me to draw on the work of fellow artists and to engage with a wider audience, and receive feedback from a diverse range of sources.
How has your brand grown to where it is now? What has contributed to your success?
By applying my skills and knowledge to painting subjects which move me emotionally, I have discovered how to connect with viewers in an authentic and meaningful way. My brand and its continuing growth are entirely built upon my understanding of the power of that connection. The pandemic and consequential drought of other activities forced me to double down and focus on my practice with more commitment than ever.
At the time this seemed like a daunting prospect, but now I can see how my work has developed as a result.
Have you worked with any galleries or brands or completed any important commissions you can share with us?
The two kinds of commission I am most proud of are works for causes such as Christian Aid, and all of the portrait commissions for lost loved ones.
Which projects are you really excited about for 2021 and are there any future plans you can share with us?
My eventual ambition is to curate my own creative space with renowned illustrator and writer Jonathan Liddell. In the short term, I am looking forward to connecting with more people than ever through this opportunity.
See a selection of work from Matt G Baron HERE