ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Exclusive Interview With Artist Matt Dixon
By James Whittington, Tuesday 12th March 2013

Matt DixonMatt 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.

MD: Cheers!


MORE ARTICLES
Chilling modern folk horror coming from T. Kingfisher
Posted in News, Friday 14th February 2020

The Twisted Ones is the celebrated debut from T. Kingfisher. Published last year in the US, The Twisted Ones was shortlisted in the Goodreads Reader's Choice for horror and received rave reviews, now Titan will be bringing it to the UK market for the first time on 17th March.

When Mouse's dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother's house, she says yes. After all, how bad could it be? Answer: pretty bad. Grandma was a hoarder, and her house is stuffed with useless rubbish. Mouse stumbles across her step-grandfather;s journal, which seems like nonsense until Mouse encounters some of the terrifying things he described. Alone in the woods with her dog, Mouse finds herself face to face...

SHARE: READ MORE
The Breach - brand new fiction from M.T. Hill
Posted in News, Monday 10th February 2020

Award-winning author M.T. Hill returns with a new science fiction novel that blurs the lines between reality and fiction in a gripping exploration of the dangerous underground world of urban exploration. With hints of the claustrophobic terror of Sarah Lotz's The White Road blended with Philip K. Dick-esque imaginings, The Breach is genre-bending, pageturning read that aptly demonstrates why Hill is one of today's most exciting new voices in weird fiction.

Freya Medlock, a reporter at her local paper, is down on her luck and chasing a break. When she's assigned to cover the death of a young climber named Stephen, she might just have the story she needs. Digging into Stephen's life, Frey...

SHARE: READ MORE
A chance to see The Man With the X-Ray Eyes in HD!
Posted in News, Monday 10th February 2020

Get ready for a visual treat as Second Sight announces the first ever UK Blu-ray release of Roger Corman's seminal horror sci-fi classic The Man With the X-Ray Eyes on 20th April.

This 1960s cult favourite will be a sight to behold with a newly restored Limited Edition Box Set release, featuring stacks of brand new special features, including a new interview with director Roger Corman (The Little Shop of Horrors), commentaries and much more, please see details in full below. The set arrives on 20 April 2020 complete with new artwork, designed by Graham Humphreys, a reversible poster and a soft cover book with writing by Jon Towlson and Allan Bryce.

Obsessed with expand...

SHARE: READ MORE
His Dark Materials to get a stunning release on vinyl.
Posted in News, Monday 10th February 2020

Philip Pullman's bestselling trilogy of books has sold more than 19 million copies worldwide and formed the basis of the major HBO/BBC TV series His Dark Materials. Now, this stunning 9LP box set presents BBC Radio's full-cast dramatisations of all three novels thanks to Demon Records.

Follow the adventures of Lyra belacqua and Willy Parry, two children catapulted into a life-or-death struggle to save the future of the cosmos. In Northern lights 11-year-old Lyra discovers dark forces at work, involving kidnapped children and a mysterious substance called 'dust'. In the subtle Knife will finds an opening into a haunted world, where daemon-destroying Spectrobes roam. In the Amber spygla...

SHARE: READ MORE
What you can't see can hurt you! New trailer for The Invisible Man
Posted in News, Monday 10th February 2020

What you can't see can hurt you. Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss stars in The Invisible Man, a terrifying modern tale of obsession inspired by Universal's classic monster character.

Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist, Cecilia Kass (Moss) escapes in the dead of night and disappears into hiding, aided by her sister (Harriet Dyer), their childhood friend (Aldis Hodge) and his teenage daughter (Storm Reid).

But when Cecilia's abusive ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) commits suicide and leaves her a generous portion of his vast fortune, Cecilia suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of eerie coincidences turns lethal, threaten...

SHARE: READ MORE
Medieval carnage descends in Aliens: Phalanx!
Posted in News, Sunday 9th February 2020

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Infected and Alive delivers medieval carnage, as a pre-industrial society fights extinction at the hands of a massive infestation of Xenomorphs. Aliens: Phalanx is a wholly self-contained novel that expertly mixes horror and adventure, and adds an exciting new chapter to the canon of the Alien universe.

Penned by fan-favourite author Sigler (whose short story 'Dangerous Prey' in the Aliens: Bug Hunt anthology was incredibly well received), this is the eighth original novel in Titan's successful, ongoing Alien publishing program, and promises to be a must-read for fans of the franchise!

Ataegina was an isolated world of medieval castles, va...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Adam Stovall, director of A Ghost Waits
Posted in Frightfest, Interviews, Sunday 9th February 2020

Ahead of the World premiere of A Ghost Waits at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Adam Stovall reflects on getting through depression, creating paranormal romance and the influence of Tom Waits...

You have an interesting CV - from comedy theatre and film journalism to writing for The Hollywood Reporter and second assistant directing. Was all this a game plan to becoming a fully-fledged director?

AS: I've known since I was a little kid sitting in the basement watching the network TV premiere of Back To The Future while holding my Back To The Future storybook and waiting for them to premiere the first footage from Back To The Future 2 during a commercial br...

SHARE: READ MORE
Award-winning filmmaker Scott Lyus set to direct debut horror feature film Walking Against The Rain early June 2020
Posted in News, Sunday 9th February 2020

The apocalyptic Biblical monster movie, shot on locations in the UK over a three-week period, will star Cruel Summer's Reece Douglas, newcomer Maisy Kay and James Swanton as monster creation 'The Forsaken'.

Set six months after a biblical plague has fallen upon the world, Walking Against The Rain tells the story of two strangers, Tommy (Reece Douglas) and Blair (Maisy Kay) who are navigating their way across a barren landscape in a desperate attempt to find each other. With their only form of communication being two soon-to-die battery operated radio mics and with a new evil in the shape of 'The Forsaken' tracking them down, they must learn to confront loss and rediscover a trust in humanity. Or...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Simeon Halligan, director of Habit
Posted in Features, Interviews, Sunday 9th February 2020

Simeon Halligan is one of the busiest people working in the industry today. Writer, director, producer, director of celebrated film festival Grimmfest, in fact the list goes on.

His latest film is the neon tinged, blood-splattered masterpiece Habit which is showing on Horror February 14th so we thought we should get the story on how he brought this shocker to the big screen.

HC: When did you first become aware of the book by Stephen McGeagh to which Habit is based?

SH: I read the book a couple of years back and really liked it. A combination of gritty realism and dark fantasy; set within a very recognisable Manchester. There's a juxtaposition in the book; from a kind of soc...

SHARE: READ MORE
The last ever BBC radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy makes its vinyl debut!
Posted in News, Saturday 8th February 2020

First broadcast in 2018, the Hexagonal Phase is based on Eoin Colfer's And Another Thing..., the first - and, to date, only - official sequel to Douglas Adams's original book series. This is also the first ever publication of the original radio edits of the Hexagonal Phase, as heard on their original Radio 4 broadcast.

Presented on 3 x 180g heavyweight neon green vinyl, and presented in illustrated wallets inside a rigid, bound 20 page book, including a perspective sleeve note by Geoff McGivern and a concluding overview of the series' development by Jem Roberts, Adams's official biographer.

A Amazon UK Exclusive Edition contains a print signed by Geoff McGivern and is limite...

SHARE: READ MORE
Spiral - A terrifying new chapter from the book of SAW...
Posted in News, Wednesday 5th February 2020

A sadistic mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in Spiral, the terrifying new chapter from the book of SAW.

Working in the shadow of an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city's gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer's morbid game.

Spiral stars Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols, and Samuel L. Jackson, and is produced by the original SAW team of Mark Burg and Oren Koules. The film is directed by ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Knives and Skin - Original Soundtrack
Posted in Reviews, Thursday 30th January 2020
Knives and Skin - Original Soundtrack
Nick Zinner
Lakeshore Records

Knives and Skin from director Jennifer Reeder was one of the strongest and most original movies from FrightFest 2019. Its hypnotic and sometimes surreal plot contained some superb set-pieces of nerve tightening drama. To make the film even more memorable it had a score which added a delicate beauty to the whole experience.

Part suburban nightmare, part neon-soaked teenage fever dream, this tantalizing mystery traces the wave of fear and distrust that spreads across a small Midwestern town in the wake of a high school girl's mysterious disappearance. As the loneliness and darkness lurking beneath the ve...

SHARE: READ MORE
Articles Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
You're Next
YOU'RE NEXT
Sunday 23rd February
9.00 PM
The Green Inferno
THE GREEN INFERNO
Saturday 29th February
10.55 PM
Deliver Us From Evil
DELIVER US FROM EVIL
Friday 21st February
10.40 PM