Day 211

On a personal level, one of the great things about #TGAA is that I get to meet artists and designers, who’s work I’ve admired for years. I was actually lucky enough to have such an encounter with Boxing Clever’s own, Matt Reedy. Although he was sitting just a few feet from me, it wasn’t until I saw this article on Kotaku that I even made the connection. But after seeing the “Making Bacon Pancakes” print, I immediately recognized his work. In fact, he has a few pieces floating around the Internet that I—and many of my friends—have loved for quite a while.

Before I left St. Louis, I had the privilege of asking Matt a few questions about his work. So, let’s see how that turned out:

You seem to have such a diverse palette of influences. Where would you say you find the most inspiration?

Influence comes to me from all sorts of places: things I look at online, random ideas my kids come up with, movies, art shows—all that stuff. The biggest influence for me though is the work of my peers. Whenever I see someone I know come up with something cool, it makes me want to do better with my next project. I’m not saying it’s always successful, but at least I know I tried harder and gave it my all.

Can you tell me a little about your background? For instance, how long have you been designing or your overall background in design?

I’ve been working in this field for over 20 years now. I actually switched from a drawing major to a design major about halfway though college. In hindsight, it was probably a great choice, because I’ve stuck with it ever since. The greatest thing about working at Boxing Clever is that I get to work with a lot of guys I met in college, who I’ve been friends with ever since.

Can you talk a little about your process? Do you have anything in particular you use when creating something new?

When starting something new, I usually try to start from scratch. At the very least, I like to draw influence from something semi-related to the project. To be honest, I've never understood designers that just scour other people's work just to mimic it. I think recreating a style as an homage is one thing, but straight-up copying is just lazy.

Based on your experience in the industry, do you have any advice for young creative out there on how to maintain one’s freedom when doing work for clients?

I'm sure every designer out there knows that maintaining creative freedom is tough. It really helps to have a great team that backs you up and a good working relationship with a client. Of course, clients who are open to hearing ideas other than their own are a blessing as well. The easiest way to have total creative control is to do pro-bono work. If they aren't paying, they really can't boss you around. Or even better, just do work your love on your own time. I know a lot of designers that create fantastic art, sometimes just for fun or sometimes to sell on a site like Etsy. If you can get enough cool-looking projects out on your blog or portfolio, clients will start to seek you out for your specific style.

Are there any designers or artists out there, whose work you think people need to check out?

I've got a lot of friends and co-workers who's work amazes and inspires me every day. There's nothing better than seeing a new piece posted on Behance or Facebook, but the one who's work I share the most is from my twin brother, Brian Reedy. It seems like every other day he has some new print or drawing that's just incredible. You can see a lot of his work here.

Much like everyone at Boxing Clever, I can officially vouch that Matt is just as awesome as the work he creates. If you want to see more of what he does, take a gander at his Behance portfolio. Once you're done there, I highly recommend checking out what he has for sale on his Etsy site too.

-Steve-