Today I'm talking all things art and social media with renowned Brisbane artist (and one of my favs) Matt Stewart
.... Let's get straight to it!
1. So Matt, tell us a little about yourself, your business, your art and what sets your soul on fire?
My career background was originally in graphic design which then lead into a strong marketing and branding background where I worked for several premium brands. It was during these full-time roles that I built my art business up as a side project and in 2010 turned it into my full-time career. My work has been described as “Sexy. Raw. Demanding.” which I guess sums it up. It’s kind of a pop art with a street art edge. Although not having a street-art background, my use of aerosols and acrylics gives the artworks a grittiness and sets them apart from my peers. I have a busy weekly schedule, with early starts on-site (and at the airport) for murals both locally and interstate, so I love nothing more than just relaxing and chilling out on weekends and during my time off. Sitting in my hammock, reading a great book, is literally what I look forward to the most.
2. As an artist, do you have a muse that is a major influence for your art?
I don’t have one particular muse, as I really like to work on different subjects. Definitely Fashion! It's just another type of artform, so it makes sense to include it in my works. It really interests me and as I create concepts, I try to include all types of fashion that really inspire me. My style of works lend themselves to bold colour blocking and long, flowing lines, so it’s a perfect match! I take this inspiration from everywhere.... I read (flip through) all of the current fashion and design magazines and follow dozens of relevant people on social media. Female figures and nature both feature strongly in my works, so they would be my major influences. I also love architecture, design, and just creativity being born from people’s ideas.
3. What is your favourite piece that you have produce and why?
Probably the 8 metre tall pillars that I painted for Cirque Du Soleil a few years back. They were a gift from the performance company to the city of Brisbane, so the fusion of the elements of the performance ‘TOTEM’ and local natural wildlife was one that worked well. Also, the sheer size of the surface that I painted onto and the logistics in making scale, perspective and detail work, was something that I am still proud of. I drive past them at least once a week, and still smile at how they’ve transformed the landscape.
You can check out the production video here: https://vimeo.com/208282117
4. Being a veteran in the social media space, and based on the current climate of social media Eg. the algorithm, changes etc.,how has this impacted your business?
URGHHHHHH! Absolutely!! Social Media is definitely a LOVE/HATE part of my business and something that (like everyone) I am always trying to figure it out. Anyone who uses it for business purposes, will know that the goal posts keep getting moved. You just figure out what works the best for marketing, then BOOM, it doesn’t anymore, so back to the drawing board.
It has impacted my business over the past 18 months from both an organic and paid promotion angle. Organic delivery rates have dropped and paid advertising just keeps increasing in $$’s for delivery. Plus, I think that people are so bombarded with cool imagery, that once a ‘WOW Artwork Image’ will now just become another image in the newsfeed. It is frustrating, but something that comes with the territory, so I just keep on pushing through and working with it, not against it.
5. What steps are you taking as an independent artist to adapt to these social media challenges?
To be honest, not a LOT up until very recently. I am a little lazy when it comes for being really proactive with my social media and online presence. However, I have realised that I need to step up my game, so am re-invigorating my Pinterest and Linkedin accounts to have more of an overall presence. More often posting on Facebook and Instagram have helped also. I’ve never really bought my personal side/life into my page too much, as it has always been able to function well on just the artwork alone. However, I know that my followers would love to see more of ME and what I get up to, so moving-forward, this will start to feature.
6. What advice would you give to the up and coming Australian artists and creatives?
If artists are wanting to pursue their passion as a full-time career, treat it like a business that you want to succeed in. Know your demographic..... after all, you’re selling a product....you! People buy art for the art as well as for the artist.
- Who are you selling to?
- What do they love (not just art, but everything in their lives)?
- What do people love most about your art?
Once you know your buyer well, then you’ll know how to direct your concepts to produce beautiful artworks that will resonate with them.
7. Cheeky question....Any secret squirrel business happening for you and your art in the near future?
I have several large projects coming up in the next few months. All of these I still have to keep quiet about, but all will be revealed soon. In addition to these, I have a waiting list for both private and corporate mural jobs, as well as a 9-10 week wait for canvas artwork commission orders. I am also looking into a couple of other homewares/fashion products to add to my range. Life just keeps getting busier, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
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