Our March artist feature brings our first tattoo artist to the fore. A man of strong artistic principles blessed with a rare talent to see things others take for granted – we are fortunate to get a glimpse into the world of Matt Holland. So without further ado, we bring you our March artist interview…
What started you in your career of art? What sparked your interest in creating art?
Well, I guess it started when I was a small child, like most kids I was drawing on my moms walls with wax crayons and making peanut butter hand prints on the kitchen floor. Though I’d say that I never really stopped doing those things, it became an outlet later on and then developed into somewhat of an addiction, something I cannot do without. I’m not very adept at being a regular ol’ 9-5 office person. So the “interest” has always been there, I was not made to do anything else.
Where are you based? Why there?
I’m based in Cape Town. I chose Cape Town because two of the best things ever created are here in our backyards. The Ocean and The Mountains. Those two things make all the other negative aspects seem pretty small.
How would you describe your art?
This is not an easy question. You might notice that my subject matter is mainly comprised of woman, I’m just a little obsessed with the female form, and I know that might sound a little “creepy”, but I don’t care. Though, to be honest, I would say I’m obsessed with the the human form in general.
As far as my style goes I don’t think I’ve completely found my own unique style 100% yet, though I do think I’m close. Right now it’s got this almost surreal feel to it, but this will probably change as time moves on. It’s all an interpretation of my inner self of sorts and I feel this changes according to your influences.
What inspires you to create art?
Everything. Things around me, nature, people, experiences all of it. Not a moment goes by where I don’t look at something through an artists eye. It does get a bit overwhelming at times but not for too long. I believe this is what it means to be an artist, to be inspired even when it’s nearly impossible, this is our role in society.
What has been your best memory/experience related to your art?
I think tattooing has created some of the best memories in terms of my own art. Painting and sculpting is a bit more self indulgent. Though I’ve made some good friends and been through some tear jerker sessions with certain clients just in terms of the reasoning behind the tattoo or a conversation we had or something we shared. When you are tattooing someone, you are in a way forced to be in someone else’s comfort zone (both artist and client) so you are bound to share some personal views and feelings.
Who are some of your favorite artists local and international?
Well, there’s definitely far too many artists for me to name. I use a lot of mediums and practice a few disciplines so there are tonnes of artists whose work I love, most of them I don’t even know their names to be honest. Though at this moment I’ve been sculpting a lot and there’s three names that stand out: Luo Li Rong, sculptress whose work I was introduced to by Inge actually, thanks for that! Brett Harvey and Sabin Howard. These three are literally the best I’ve ever seen.
Tattoo wise I’d have to say Jeff Gogue, his use the body and the way he composes his pieces are in my mind unrivaled. I could go on and on about this topic for ages though…hahaha
Any plans on the horizon?
Yes! Loads and loads of plans. I will be taking up tattooing again soon, I have also been working on some colab stuff with a good friend of mine who is a phenomenal artist and whose style very much compliments mine. Furthermore, I am also working on some pieces for future exhibitions, but it’s all a little “hush hush” at the moment because I really want to come out swinging with this one.
Do you have any formal training ?
Nope, no formal training what so ever. I mean, I did do an apprenticeship for tattooing and was mentored by an amazing artist for two years but other than that I’ve pretty much taught myself, just don’t ask me any theory…hahaha
What is your favorite medium…?
Right now I’m so in love with sculpting so I would have to say sculpting. I cannot describe the feeling I get when I sculpt, I get these surges of endorphins throughout a session. Everything is just amazing, from the feeling in your hands to the sounds your tools make on the clay. I get butterflies in my stomach before I start a session. It is very close to the feeling you get when you fall in love though the fear of rejection that sometimes comes with that is not there. I get a natural high that’s hard to beat.
Though to be fair each discipline has its perks and little things that I love about them, but right now sculpting has got me, it’s got me down to the very soul.
What other interests / hobbies do you have?
Well, none really. None that have stuck anyway. My spare time is spent making art. I used to trail run and do things of this nature, but due to injuries I find myself doing less and less of that and more and more creating art. Though this year I’m focusing on art as much as I possibly can all while still trying to maintain somewhat of a social life.
What do you do in your spare time to relax and unwind?
I guess I do all the regular things, movies, music, see friends. I do enjoy spending time with my friends, there’s always a lot of laughter which helps release tension and things.
There you have it, spoken like a true artist! Someone who is constantly seeing the lines, beauty and story in every little bit of the world around them and trying to capture it. We cannot wait to finally hear of some of these secret plans and hope to see many more amazing pieces join our site from Matt. Check out his artist profile on our website and be sure to stay tuned for any updates!