Feature: Interview - Artist, Matthew Ryan Page

Odds are you don’t know Matt Ryan Page by name but you’ve come across his amazing Metroid fanart around the Tumblr network and Pinterest. Amazingly enough, not only is Matt a wonderfully geeky guy, a gamer but also a local artist (Florida) as well. Here at GND we love to peer behind the awesome emerging artists inspired by gaming and the media we love. So I bothered Matt for an interview and he graciously said yes. Read on to find out who is Matthew Ryan, the man behind the fanart. 

Tell our readers a little about yourself?

I’m a perverted, sarcastic, underconfident, nerdy 30 year old who doesn’t hang out with anyone his own age. I love enlightenment and the pursuit of truth and knowledge. I grew up in a cult and I don’t like religion. I’m 5’4” (short!), fit, almost no fashion sense, and sometimes I have a beard. I think about dinosaurs and serial killers sometimes. Lately I go to work a lot and then come home and sleep. It’s boring and lonely, but I need the money. If I have time, I watch movies, make art, or play vidya games.

When did you start drawing and who are some of your biggest influences?

I had my first art class when I was about 6 years old. It probably lasted a few months and I don’t remember anything from it. I didn’t start to make art by myself until I was about 15. My influences at the time were Sonic and furry artists like J.Axer, Rose Besch, and anime like Akira. Now I have too many influences to count. 

What kind of artistic background do you have? Have you had any formal training?

I had little formal training until I went to UCF in 2000. At UCF I majored in Drawing, and I got a lot better.

What are your favorite tools of choice to create your art?

Mechanical pencils, Magic Rub, scanner, Photoshop.

What do you do for inspiration and how do you fight a lack of
inspiration or creative blocks?

I’m not the person to ask about how to beat creative blocks!! 
John Cleese has a good lecture on it that I enjoy:
I would suggest taking breaks every once in awhile, being in a good mood when you create, and being open to anything.

Clearly you’re a gamer; what with some of your work touching on some of the more iconic characters in gaming. What are you some of your favorite characters and are there any characters you’d love to spend more time bringing to life?

I like Samus, Sonic, Mario, Link and other Zelda characters… for character design, I like a lot of Capcom (Street Fighter, etc.) designs and Final Fantasy games. I really should do a little Midna fanart… and of course, some original characters which I haven’t fleshed out in years.

How long does it take you to create a piece?

Sketching can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 90 minutes, and CG can take anywhere from an hour to 25 hours. My average on a decent CG is probably 7 hours.

Have you ever considered a job as a concept artist in the gaming industry or any artistic endeavour in the field?

Yes and I still have some hope for a job like that, but I’m very lazy and don’t have a lot of self-esteem. c_c;

Who are some current artists you’re really digging as of late?

Lately I like loish, coey, james jean, gunnerromantic, and tons of DA artists and Pixiv artists. My art folder is a terrible, beautiful mess. Half the time I don’t even know the name of the artist I’m looking at!! I download whole threads on imageboards sometimes. I’m really into HR info threads, graphs, fantasy maps, and insect photography.

What are your favorite video games? Any games you’re looking forward to later this year?

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Minus is the last video game I was crazy about. I also like Mario games, Sonic games, Metroid games, the occasional Zelda game, Donkey Kong Country, Vagrant Story, Devil May Cry 3, Shadow of the Colossus, Knytt Stories, Super Meat Boy, Dustforce, Minecraft. I’m looking forward to The Last Guardian and Diablo 3, but I also don’t pay much attention to video game releases, so I usually don’t know what I’ll be addicted to until my roommate is playing it in the living room.

What piece of advice you would give any artist just starting out there trying to land some work?

Create a few really good pieces of art, slap your email/website on them, and get them circulated on the internet. Don’t worry if other people post them places. That’s good. Hope for traffic from the chans and reddit. Oh, and practice.

Finally, are there any projects that your currently working on or anything in the future you wanna shout out?

I didn’t think I was going to say this, but I’m trying to rewrite Fallout (a religious fantasy epic / comic I’ve tried to write like 4 times…) It’s difficult, though. It had massive problems when I dropped it the first four times, years ago, and it still does. I think it would be really neat to finally do, because people say they like it and I want to be able to say it was “15 years in the making!” Oh, and I’d get to draw angels again.

Thanks Matt. To see more of Matt’s work check out his DeviantArt page and give him a favorite over there while you’re at it.

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