LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Exclusive Interview With Artist Matt Dixon
By James W, Tuesday 12th March 2013
Matt Dixon is one of the most in demand concept artists and illustrators around. His work has graced some of the most popular gaming titles around as well as specially commissioned poster art and comic strip covers.
His latest book, Girls On Top 2: More Pin Up Art has just been released with a foreword by legendary scream queen Caroline Munro and is a collection of pieces inspired by different sci-fi and horror genres. Here he chats about his career and plans for the future.
HC: Did you know from an early age that you wanted to be an artist?
MD: Well I always knew that I wanted to draw. For as long as I can remember it's been my favourite way to spend time but my motivation was always just the pleasure of exercising my imagination. It never occurred to me that I would be an 'artist' and I still have some trouble with the idea in fact, it seems a rather lofty title for someone who spends most of his working life painting aliens, robots and curvaceous women. I certainly never entertained the idea of pursuing a career in art. No one I knew made a living from art and it was never suggested to me as a possible career path as I was growing up, it just didn't seem to be an option. When I left the education system, I started training to be an accountant! (I lasted three hours!)
HC: Is it true you got your first break working in the computer games industry?
MD: That's correct. From around eight years old I'd fiddled about with the computer as an art tool, making pictures out of ASCII characters and learning how to code my own little bitmaps before finally discovering art software. This eventually led to me contributing graphics to a Commodore 64 game while I was still at school. A few years later I had a phone call out of the blue from one of the guys I'd worked with on that game - he'd started his own development studio and was looking for artists. At the time I was working in a guitar shop and was ready for something new so I jumped at the chance and spent 12 very happy years working at that studio. Things might have gone very differently had I not had that phone call.
HC: What's been the most satisfying piece of concept art you've created?
MD: That's a tough one. I enjoy what I do enormously, but once a piece is finished I find it difficult to see anything but flaws so I tend to look forward rather than back for satisfaction. It's horribly corny, but whatever I'm working on at the time is probably the work I'd find most satisfying.
HC: Girls On Top 2 is your latest book, a collection of pin-up pieces. Where did all these ideas come from?
MD: 'Where do you get your ideas?' is probably the question I hear the most often at convention appearances and such. I should really have formulated a satisfactory response by now, but the truth is that I don't know. Ideas just pop in there, and I don't like to think to hard about where they come from in case I somehow break whatever mechanism brings them into being. The pin-up stuff is a little different as the focal point, the female form, is always the same so whether it's the pose that comes first, a situation, or just an idea for a cool costume, it's all built upon that common foundation which makes it a little easier to get started. Once I've got something, however small, to start on I like to start sketching as soon as possible as I find ideas often present themselves while I work. Those early stages of an image where I get my first look at how the finished piece might appear are always the most exciting
HC: I love "Return Of The Gherkinoids" which reflects the humour a lot of your work in the collection contains. Do you feel it’s an important part of your style?
MD: I hope so. For me, art is entertainment. Entertaining to look at and entertaining to make, and that's still my main motivation when I sit down at the computer and pick up the stylus. It's not always a deliberate decision to make my work humorous, but if I'm enjoying myself during that exciting sketching stage I think it often comes through in the ideas I choose to draw.
HC: Caroline Munro has written the intro, how did that come about?
MD: A mutual friend introduced us at one of the memorabilia conventions where I sell my work. I'd had the idea of asking an actress I admire to contribute a foreword to the book for a while and after meeting Caroline I knew she'd be ideal. Good pin-up art doesn't simply present the viewer with some well placed curves and a plunging neckline; the allure of a character lies in the personality on display. I like my women to display confidence, strength and self-awareness. Caroline embodies these qualities perfectly, as do many of her best loved roles, so I was delighted that she agreed to be a part of the project.
HC: Your females in this release reminded me of the curvy models seen in artwork of the 50s and 60s, would you agree?
MD: It's not a conscious choice but I certainly draw a great deal of inspiration from that era so I'm not surprised you can see a connection there. I'm rather pleased with your assessment in fact, I think the more natural portrayal of women in photography and art during the 50s, 60s and into the 70s is a good deal healthier and more flattering than what we often see today. My intention is that my work should be light-hearted and fun but as a guy who paints the opposite sex, I'm acutely aware that I'm only one clumsy brush stroke away from an image that could be labelled sexist or even offensive. Naturally I hear a range of opinions about my work but it's enormously rewarding to have had so much positive feedback from women. I'm not sure if the body shape I favour or the attitude of my pin-up girls is the bigger factor there but female customers account for the majority of my pin-up book and print sales which reassures me that my pin-ups are on the right side of the line between exploitative and celebratory.
HC: All your work is now created digitally; do you miss the "old methods" you used to use?
MD: There is an occasional nostalgia for the old days. The one aspect digital art will never emulate is the multi sensory experience of working with physical media; you can see your digital work, but a real painting can be also be touched and smelled (and frequently tasted when a paint-smeared thumb is nibbled during a moment of contemplation ). There's also an immense satisfaction in producing a 'thing' after your hours of toil - an object that you've willed into being. Digital artworks are forever trapped behind the transparent prison wall of the monitor or stuck to paper. When those thoughts stroll around my head I do miss it, yes. Then I remember finding pencil shavings in my navel or great chunks of toxic cadmium orange paint dried into my hair. All those poor paintings spoiled by spilled water or coffee, or unexpectedly enhanced by various bits of studio detritus that decided to adhere to them. All that stuff is part of the fun of course, but when I'm surrounded by a pack of angry deadlines and about to make batlle, the instant drying, easily undo-able, predictable magic of Photoshop is my chosen weapon.
HC: So what projects are you working on at the moment?
MD: I've just completed a batch of work for the World of Warcraft trading card game, and my schedule for the coming few weeks includes illustrations for some mobile phone games, some more trading card art, a private commission and a project for a European band. Working freelance means all kinds of work arrives in my inbox and that variety really is one of the best parts of the job. I'm also hoping to find time for some more personal work. Now the Girls On Top 2 has been released I'll be taking a short break from pin-ups to focus on something a little different, and I hope to be able to announce my next art book in the summer time.
HC: Matt Dixon, thank you very much.
MORE INTERVIEWS Interview with Jason London, star of Nightworld
Posted on Wednesday 15th August 2018
On August 27th Horror Channel has the UK premiere of the paranormal shocker, Nightworld. The film concerns a man (Jason London) who bites off more than he can chew when, when a malevolent force is uncovered in the bowels of the apartment he's guarding.
So, we decided to chat to Jason about the movie, what it's like to work with Robert Englund and his future cinemtic plans.
HC: You've been acting for a number of years; can you remember how you felt when you first walked onto a movie set?
JL: My first day on a movie set was magic. I was, honestly, terrified, and thrilled. The crew was fantastic, and as soon as they started unloading all of the big lights...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tim Van Dammen director of Mega Time Squad
Posted on Tuesday 14th August 2018
You played a Street Demon in director Jason Lei Howden's FrightFest favourite Deathgasm. Is the New Zealand film community that small?
I didn't play a street demon; I am a street demon. The film community in NZ is small enough for most active people to know most other active people - but the genre scene is small enough for us all to know each other by at least one degree of separation. Many of my friends worked on or acted in Deathgasm and they needed a night shoot of 'street demons' so I donned my tie-dye and offered to help out. It was a lot of fun and I think Jason and the team did an incredible job.
Have you me...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Hyett, director of Heretiks
Posted on Tuesday 7th August 2018
Paul Hyett is a firm, FrightFest favourite. His work is always a much anticipated event at the film festival and this year is no exception with the world premiere of his latest work, Heretiks. Here he chats about this and future productions.
What first attracted you to actor Gregory Blair's script?
When Templeheart gave me the script of Heretiks (although it was a different title at the time), the one thing that really grabbed my interest was the opportunity to do a creepy period horror, set in 17th Century England. I'd already shot a war-set film, a contemporary werewolf film and here was an opportunity to do a film set in the 17th ce...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Dominic Brunt, director of Attack of the Adult Babies
Posted on Monday 6th August 2018
With FrightFest 2018 only a few weeks away we decided to chat to actor/writer/director Dominic Brunt about what its like to be waiting to have your movie screened at FrightFest and the plans he has for future movie projects.
HC: It's been a while since we last chatted, apart from Attack of the Adult Babies, what have you been up to?
DM: It's been a very busy and fulfilling year at Emmerdale with a very involving story going through the whole year. Also, I was driver about-er on Sybil, Jo's fantastic new short film (which is showing at FrightFest 2018). I had a small role in Funny Cow with Tony Pitts and Maxine Peak which ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Hattie Smith, star of The Axiom
Posted on Sunday 24th June 2018
The Axiom is a tense and disturbing chiller from director Nicholas Woods. The film concerns a woman who travels into a National forest, in search for her missing sister. Once in the wilderness, they discover they have entered a multi-dimensional world full of monsters. The film is an adrenaline infused experience with some cool effects and a smart story. We chatted to lead actress Hattie Smith about The Axiom.
HC: How did you become involved with The Axiom?
HS: I went to school with Nicholas, the director. We both graduated from Chapman University, and I was a year or so behind him in the film school. At some point, I was recommended to him as an actress for the 48 Hr Film Festiv...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jessica McLeod, star of The Hollow Child
Posted on Friday 8th June 2018
If you like your horror movies to have a strong paranormal theme to them you'll need to look out for The Hollow Child when it gets released later this year. It stars the incredibly talented Jessica McLeod so we decided to have a chat about this and her career to date.
HC: Was there a certain person you saw who inspired you to become an actor?
JM: I don't think I had seen a movie by the time I had wanted to be an actor. But Reese Witherspoon continues to inspire me, although my career has been entirely different from hers at my age.
HC: Can you recall what it was like to be on a movie set for the first time?
JM: I believe I got to wear a prin...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Steeve Leonard co-director of Radius
Posted on Monday 21st May 2018
In the chilling movie, Radius, a man wakes from a car crash with amnesia and what's more anyone who comes into contact with him instantly dies. This FrightFest favourite is receiving its UK TV premiere on Friday 25th of May so we chatted to its co-director and co-writer Steeve Leonard about this celebrated and cerebral movie.
HC: How long did Radius take to write?
SL: Radius took about 4 years to write, on and off. We had the radius of death idea first but we didn't know what to do with it, and so we shelved it for a while. Later we came up with the more interpersonal twist we have now and we weaved it together with the radius idea.
HC: Was it written with a cast in mind?
SL: No....SHARE: READ MORE Exclusive: Director Johannes Roberts talks 'The Strangers: Prey at Night'
Posted on Tuesday 1st May 2018
This weekend sees the release of a long-awaited sequel to one of 2008's most beloved slasher films. Yes, nine whole years after The Strangers premiered, UK cinema-goers will be met once again by Dollface, the Man in Mask and Pin-Up Girl in The Strangers: Prey at Night.
Starring Mad Men's Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Martin Henderson, and Lewis Pullman, son of the late Bill, the film sees a family of four being stalked and tormented shortly after arriving on what was supposed to be a quiet family trip to a remote mobile home. The family must decide whether to take on the dreaded strangers hell-bent on wreaking havoc, or to run for their lives.
We had a chat with the film's direct...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Andy Nyman, co-writer, co-director and star of Ghost Stories
Posted on Monday 9th April 2018
I've met Andy Nyman on many occasions over the last decade or so, and over that time I've watched his career constantly go from strength to strength. To call him multi-talented would be an understatement and along with Jeremy Dyson has created the must-see horror movie of 2018, Ghost Stories. Here he chats about the stage play, Ghost Stories as well as how it changed on its way to the big screen.
HC: When did you first meet co-writer and co-director Jeremy Dyson?
AN: Jeremy and I met at a Jewish Summer Camp in 1981, and you just get thrown together in dorms of four people and Jeremy is from Leeds and all my family are from Leeds so I used to spend most of my weekends up in Leeds so we instantly ha...SHARE: READ MORE John Krasinski talks directing and starring in 'A Quiet Place'
Posted on Friday 6th April 2018
In case you hadn't heard, A Quiet Place has opened in cinemas nationwide.
The film, starring real-life couple, John Krasinski (US adaptation of The Office and 13 Hours) and Emily Blunt (Sicario, Wind Chill and The Devil Wears Prada) takes place in a post-apocalyptic(-ish) environment, in which strange wild creatures that hunt by sound have destroyed a significant amount of the population.
Krasinski and Blunt's characters, husband and wife Lee and Evelyn try to lead a life with their family as quietly (and by that we mean literally) as possible, in able to ensure their survival.
We sat down with the director and one half of Krasinski-Blunt to talk about the film, what scares him the most, and which...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with David Howard Thornton, star of Terrifier
Posted on Monday 26th March 2018
If you're a fan of slasher movies then you'll have to check out the bood-splattered shocker Terrifier. The movie is a full-blown, hair-raising homage to grindhouse slashers that introduces a new murderous icon in the form of Art the Clown. Art id surely destined to become a true horror anti-hero and here David Howard Thornton, the guy who plays art, chats about this brilliantly brutal movie and what he's up to at the moment.
HC: What movie or person inspired you to want to work in the film industry?
DT: I would say that would be the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit film wise. I was obsessed with that film when it first came out, and still watch it at least once a year when I need some inspiration. It meshe...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Richard Elliot, Managing Director of 88 Films
Posted on Saturday 17th March 2018
Recently I've been lucky enough to review some rather tasty Blu-rays from 88 Films. This company has been behind amazing releases of titles such as A Cat in the Brain, Anthropophagous and Don't Go in the Woods...Alone. So I decided to chat to managing director Richard Elliot about 88 Films and how they survive in a cut-throat market.
HC: How did 88 Films start?
RE: 88 Films started after James and I met working for another label and it was the usual "we think we can do it better than the boss" scenario. So we slowly developed an idea of what we wanted to do after work down the pub and after lots of head scratching and pork scratchings and some setbacks BE Movies was born... which quickly became 88 Films...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Sunday 26th August
Tuesday 28th August
Saturday 25th August