Artist in Residence
The English fantasy artist can be seen with a drumstick or two in hand just as much as a paintbrush…
Find out why Rodney Matthews is just as handy with a drumstick as with a brush…
Together with Sarah, (my wife of four months!), we’ve moved from north Wales to the Cotswolds in England, and are living in a peaceful village, surrounded by wildlife.
Our recent move has meant that our studio (an art room, music room and office), has not yet had the time to become the untidy work room for which I’ve become known. Sarah is also my agent and general spokesperson, and we enjoy working together on projects in the same part of our home. Some days we wander in the nearby woods, taking a little break from what has become a busy schedule.
I’ve maintained the discipline that I picked up over 50 years ago – from my eight-year stint in an advertising agency, of starting work at around 8am and pushing through until 6pm or later, depending upon the urgency of the job at hand. Right now, The Rolling Stones job I’m tackling is wanted yesterday, so I can be found in my studio some nights at 11pm. My working day is punctuated by several cups of tea, walks round the garden with our elderly cat and answering emails that Sarah has set aside for me.
Before I pick up my paintbrush in the morning, and after a hearty bowl of porridge, I head to the studio and listen to the latest piece of music sent to me by “the band”. I’m currently working alongside US guitarist Jeff Scheetz on our own album of music based upon my images. The band, spread out across the world, includes musicians who have used my artwork on their albums: John Payne (Asia), Oliver Wakeman (Yes), Tony Clarkin (Magnum) and Rick Wakeman (Yes).
At night, I move across to the musical part of the studio and take out the day’s frustrations on my drum kit.
This is Sarah’s work desk with laptop. Here she more or less runs the show – sending and answering business emails, brokering deals, interacting with customers, publishers and fans – leaving me free to fiddle with my fantasy art. During our recent move, I lost my old jam jar that I wash my brushes in. Any similar receptacle will do – I’m happy with the replacement and can recommend the cranberry sauce! Most of my illustrations are painted on artboard with the pigmented inks that can be seen hiding in the background. I occasionally use watercolours for children’s book art. A piece of memorabilia from the early days. I was presented with this gold disc for my artwork on English rock band Magnum’s On a Storyteller’s Night album. A framed limited edition print of The Thief – an interpretation from Tolkien’s The Hobbit. I’ve done a whole series of Tolkien illustrations, but my best seller is Rivendell. Rodney’s fantasy creations have come to life on posters and record covers, and in books, computer games and animation since the 1970s. You can see more of his work at www.rodneymatthewsstudios.com.