Artist in Res­i­dence

The English fan­tasy artist can be seen with a drum­stick or two in hand just as much as a paint­brush…

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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.

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