Impulsive, imaginative and somewhat obsessive, Sydney-based artist Adrian Matic gave up job-hopping a year ago to focus on his true passion: creating modern art with a deconstructive edge.
Always laced with a touch of irony, Matic’s work presents everyday scenes and objects in bold new ways, immersing the viewer into a fantastical dystopia, or at least offering us the opportunity to view something ordinary from an extraordinary angle. Mirrorballs lost in space… Red Bull cans littering the jungle… Time, space and commerce collide in this fantastical thinker’s mind.
Here, he chats with Cream about all things collage-like and cosmic.
Interview by Shelley Bardenhagen
Have you had any formal art training beyond school?
Kind of. I studied at the National Art School in Darlinghurst, failing at least two-thirds of the subjects. To be honest, I probably spent more time in the pub than I did in class. Although the classroom was a giant source of frustration, I met some very talented people who I’m still friends with today.
What would you say makes your art unique?
A lot of artists feel they need to stick to an established style to be a commercial success, whereas I’ve intentionally rejected that path. Being calculated or working in one style is utterly impossible for me because I find it boring. I’ve never understood that way of working with art. So my art style is pretty varied.
Prior to your artistic career, what other work did you do?
I was a labourer for a construction company, also a gyprocker doing interior fit-outs, a residential building manager, and a junior project manager for a signage company. Not so long ago I had a nice paying job with a reasonable amount of responsibility. Since my transition to a full-time artist I’ve pretty much abandoned the other career prospects. On one hand I’m afraid because it’s a foolish thing to tackle. On the other, I’m really excited because finally I’m doing something that I care about. Knowing I can wake up tomorrow with the freedom to create any image I like, it’s exhilarating.
Your work explores many styles and mediums such as collage, painting, and drawing. Describe your creative process.
It depends on the type of work I’m creating. I prefer to work in the two-dimensional realm, creating images on a flat surface rather than sculpture. For the collages, I collect pictures from magazines until I end up with anywhere up to a hundred images. Then I’ll blend certain images depending on what tells an interesting story.
Do you have a favourite piece?
All the work I’ve made is a reflection of my past, fantasies and frustrations. But my favourite piece is ‘The Cosmic Traveller’. It illustrates the pleasures that await the traveller on hypnotic planetary disco balls as he flies through the galaxy. He must reach the blue planet quickly, or there could be cataclysmic consequences for space and time. The spacecraft is constructed using clippings of mechanical components taken from cars, motorcycles, even an old refrigerator. It combines collage with painting in a way that’s quite harmonious and interesting.
You certainly change themes from piece to piece.
I do. Some of my works have a dreamscape aspect to them, some examine iconic Australian products, some even inspired by Disney films, video games and fictional stories from my childhood. I’m inspired by the cleverness and obscurity of surrealists like Marcel Duchamp and pop artists like Andy Warhol.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done lately?
About 18 months ago, I’d had between four and ten beers at the local pub when I decided to jump down a long flight of stairs. As a result, I tore a ligament in my knee. Prior to the injury I was obsessed with playing basketball. The injury and rehabilitation process was a reality check. While recovering, I chose to direct my competitive spirit and sense of play toward making original art.
What music stimulates your creativity?
If I wake up and play melancholic music it tends to set the tone for the day. For productivity, upbeat dance music usually results in bold, colourful work. But my favourite artists are David Bowie, Iggy Pop, MF Doom, John Frusciante and Dizzy Gillespi – all highly experimental and never stagnant.
Besides art, what else do you like?
Well there was basketball. I love eating; I’m always thinking about food. It could be my European background, but everyone in my family loves to cook and loves to eat. My mouth is watering talking about it.
I haven’t had a solo exhibition yet, so I hope to have my own show soon. I used to think that landing a good deal with a prominent gallery in a major city was the main goal. Now I think the most important thing is to build a strong online presence to make my work more accessible. My aim is to produce digital prints of my work and have them available for anyone around the world to purchase. God bless the internet.
View more of Adrian Matic’s work through Instagram @adrian_matic