We present you Matt Mills - an abstract digital artist from Texas. His interest in drawing and computers led him to become a modern artist having multiple skills in digital art. Matt shares how his style has formed and evolved through the years, what keeps him motivated and how his typical workflow goes.
Hi Matt! Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi, my name is Matt Mills. I am a multi-disciplined designer and software engineer from Austin, Texas (USA). I've been creating abstract digital art under my brand Stock&Render (@stockandrender on Instagram) since 2014. I've also got a full time job as a software engineer, a house, a wife, two kids, and a dog. Needless to say, I'm very busy.
How did you start doing digital art?
Well, I started drawing at a young age. I was also interested in computers and video games as a kid. One day sometime around 2004 I figured out that I could make my own models and textures for the game Unreal Tournament. My mind was blown. I started learning to create characters and levels using 3D software (I was using Maya back then) and spent many many hours playing around with Photoshop. That led me to the deviantART community where I was able to interact with other artists around the world and share the 3D work that I was creating.
Where do you find inspiration? How do you decide what project to start?
I tend to find inspiration everywhere these days. My art is typically very abstract so something as simple as an interesting light fixture may spark an idea. I typically create one piece of artwork for myself everyday in addition to any client work I'm doing at the time. These are the pieces you'll see me posting on Instagram. I do get asked to do a lot of album artwork and poster design for musicians and in those instances I usually take them on a first come first serve basis.
You have a great and consistent style! How did your style evolve?
A lot my work starts on the computer using Cinema 4D. I'll render out some simple geometry with a flat texture. I then take that image and using either Photoshop or apps on my iPhone to manipulate the image and add elements until I am happy with how the artwork looks. The iPhone apps I use most are Union, Assembly, Mextures, Defqt, Trigraphy, and Circular. I'll typically use Trigraphy when I need to create a very abstract element. It's great at taking an image and really distorting it into something unique. I'll also use it to add some slight texture and give my artwork some grit.
What apps do you use in your workflow and how does Trigraphy fit in it?
It took a while. I started out creating 3D characters around 2004 and had dreams of working at Pixar. I actually did end up working for Disney at one point but that's a longer story I won't go into here. Sometime around 2008 I started experimenting with a more abstract style. My style really started evolving into what you see today around 2014 when I got on Instagram and started discovering a lot of new artists from around the world. It inspired me to start pushing my style in a new direction. All of the artwork I create under the Stock&Render brand has this distinct look to it and that is a very conscious effort on my part.
What advice can you give to young digital artists?
Keep creating. Do it every day. Don't get caught up with what everyone else is doing or how many likes they're getting. Consider it a learning journey. I never would have gotten to where I am now without trying new things and experimenting with a bunch of different styles. You'll find your way. It may take a while, but if you stick to it, it will happen. Also, it helps if you can find and interact with a community of other artists. Places like Instagram and deviantART have really helped me keep going. We have an amazing opportunity these days and almost anyone is just a few clicks away.