Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Excited Artist

As a child, artist Matt Campbell loved Ralph Bashki's Wizards, a lot. These days he is more likely to be "dazzled by the likes of Pixar and Studio Ghibli's Miyasaki" but the Auckland-based artist's illustrative style is still steeped in the back alley style of the classical American cartoon set of the Twentieth Century. After a long sojourn in New York - which included a stint as Design and Digital Director at NYC mega ad agency BBH NYC - Campbell has returned to Auckland and set up a loft-style studio in Auckland's Britomart district.

It is from this base he will continue his collaboration with Japanese fashion-art house Hysteric Glamour (he is responsible for the designs on the Hysteric Mini children's range above) and his "art & commerce" projects, most of which are US-based. One of the biggest of these can be seen at My Little where Campbell is launching a series of animations based upon legendary cartoonist and illustrator Kaz's Underworld series.

Campbell recently exhibited Out Of The Black, a series of gluggy black (we love it) teddys (top) and stuffed animals that sit somewhere between eerily frightening and malleably cute. In April the artist, whom I first met when he was the in-house art director at Flying Nun records, intends to show Out Of The Black in New York. It's great to have an artist/illustrator of Matt's calibre back in town. We look forward to more prolific creative output from the Are You Excited/Matt Campbell studio as the year unfolds...