“seeing your community enjoy your work as much as you do really boosts moral and drive!"

We headed to the Apma podcast studio where illustrator Matt Owen was just about to give an interview on his latest project CryptoCreatures and talk the new phenomenon which is NFT's.  

Hey Matt so Tell Us a little about your background and your journey into the world of art.   

So, I have been drawing pretty much since the day I could pick up a pen, it’s all I’ve ever really been interested in. Throughout school I studied art and was constantly doodling in my text books instead of learning other subjects and this kinda carried on throughout my education and I ended up studying animation for 3 years at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) where I learned a ton of amazing new skills that have helped me understand how things work.  After Uni I landed a job as a set designer for theatre, where I would basically create concepts and reference designs for the construction and artists in the workshops. We worked on a bunch of interesting projects including most of the Christmas Pantomimes held at the London Palladium and this gave me a lot of exposure to how a studio works and what is expected of me in a professional environment, I also learned a lot of valuable knowledge regarding background designs and architecture.  When my time as a set designer was up due to the studio closing during Covid, I had a lot of free time on my hands so I decided to create a comic with my friend and writer Liam called “The Unwanted Adventures of Pilgrim Jim”, this has been an ongoing project for the last year and we have gained a following of 40k on Instagram thanks to our character. This has allowed me to live off my art and be a freelance artist for some really cool clients including other comics, games and now the guy’s at APMA and Hobo Jack for there Crypto Creatures NFT collectable card venture! Which, is a really excellent and exciting project to be a part of, and I really cannot wait to see where it goes! 

You have just started a very exciting project Crypto Creatures which is part of the NFT phenomenon right now. Tell us about that. 

I got approached to be the lead illustrator for the crypto creatures NFT collection and was completely captivated and interested in the project. Everyone has been interested in cryptids and legends, so to be given the chance to produce my artistic interpretation of these creatures has been a really enjoyable and exciting experience! 

In your opinion do you think the NFT art world has longevity? 
The NFT movement that is happening for the art world is massive, it's helping to bring art to the mainstream media and increasing interest in artistic projects! I think it is going to change everything and will be around for a long, long time. I know there has been concerns and controversies surrounding the sustainability and environmental issues regarding the subject but projects such as WAX are leading us down a greener route that will ensure an exciting and bright future for NFT's!

How do you cultivate a collector base? 

I don't have a massive amount of input regarding our collector base, but I have managed to develop a fair following on instagram that has helped with our marketing and reach for the project! I just think having a showcase of something that our passionate team is producing has a natural pull for people because they notice our love for the project!

In your opinion what’s integral to the work of an artist? 

I think the most important thing for any creative person is to have a project you enjoy and are inspired by to keep you motivated and invested. Also, seeing your community enjoy your work as much as you do really boosts moral and drive!

Is there anything you dislike about the art world? 
I think there are many things that can be irritating in any walk of life, I hate the competitivness of the industry and how restrictive people can be regarding art styles and the reach of an artist. Being an artist in todays society with social media and easy access to peoples work has some amazing pro's but it has also made it harder for smaller creators to be noticed.

Who or what are your biggest influences? 
I am heavily influenced by fantasy films and animations such as Akira, lord of the rings and ghibli films such as spirited away, the art style and world building is stunning and something I aspire to capture in my own work. I love seeing other people's work/ projects, they truly push me to create my own and to work hard on the projects I am currently involved in!

Here at The Hobo Journal we love to travel hence the name, where is the best place you have visited and why? 
I've been to a fair amount of places so far in my life and I truly think our own country sides can be super inspiring and fun! I love looking over the hills of the peak district at sunset with a bottle of beer and some good company on a warm evening, it brings so much inspiration and feeling that has definitely had a massive impact on my work! 

More images below from Danny Woodstock Photographer  


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