Matthew Douglas

Matthew Douglas

Tell us a little about what you make? 

In terms of my visual art I am currently making collage and video.

What inspires you and where do you find that inspiration? 

I find the edges of spaces inspiring, the areas where things cross over. Also duration which I interpret as natural time. How the manmade and the natural meet : objects regurgitated by the sea or the weathering of old or ancient buildings, the way things rust, entropy generally.  

Tell us about your favourite medium. 

That’s a tough one, it is probably a combination of writing and drawing, because I can express so much in an annotated drawing. It is where projects begin, I very rarely display these as they are the roots of the work hidden below the surface of the project. Behind most of my projects are drawings. 

What are your favourite and least favourite parts of being an artist or maker? 

My favourite part is the late long nights of making, I work in very intense bursts of energy, and I pour my focus in and find myself in a delightfully full flow of making. 

The worst part is the isolated insecure place of self doubt, where I sometimes feel as though the work is purposeless and without worth, which then reflects back to me. It is a trap and I am learning to trust my heart, let my intuition be my judge not my head. 

What does being a member of the Ceredigion Art and Craft Trail mean to you? 

It means sharing my energy and ideas within a supportive community, a sense of belonging.

Ceredigion is a rich cultural area and what it lacks in classic economic assets, it makes up for in the honesty, openness and quality of its population. I am proud and grateful to be part of it. The annual arts trail celebrates this in a wonderful way. 

How do you manage a work-life balance as an artist/maker? 

Its tricky. I am a practising artist who is also a single working parent, I home educate my children, I play music,  I live a land based existence. But all these things held in balance can nurture one another if organised well. I have to be very very organised. 

What are you working on at the moment? 

Currently I am preparing the work for my powerhouse solo show Persepolis, which includes making a video to install alongside a series of new collage. 

How do you know when your work is finished? 

With collage it is when everything in the work begins to speak as a complete entity. It’s a very subtle thing. I find collage is a long editing and balancing exercise between form,  colour, texture and context. Its about building a relationship between things which ends when one ‘visual voice’ is heard. 

What is the biggest challenge of being an artist/maker? 

Being undervalued. We are an extraordinarily creative nation. For such a small island, we export so much in terms of design, music, film, comedy, fine art.. yet this is not reflected in the value given to the title “artist”. It is a title I should be able to wear with pride not be ashamed that its not a “proper job”. Its as if creativity is a  self-indulgent fringe activity. Yet it is central to the economics and cultural identity of our nation. 

What advice would you give to new artists or makers at the start of their creative journey? 

Find a space you can dedicate as a Studio. Try lots and lots of things out , be as experimental as possible. Talk to fellow artists as much as possible and visit lots of different exhibitions.

Get off social media and avoid screens : Look at the world around you instead. Start a hand written journal. Have faith in your own creative journey.