We had the good fortune of connecting with John Mata and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, how do you think about risk?
I have tried my best to live by the motto- Chase opportunities, not money. When I was younger and the thought of going to college came up – I thought for sure I would try something business related. I knew making art my major might limit my career choices, but I took a risk because I was passionate about it. I was fortunate to have teachers who encouraged me to keep drawing, even when I would get in trouble for sketching too much. I remember my High School art teacher asking me if I considered making Art my college major. To be honest, at the time I had no clue what I wanted to do in college. I’m thankful for her and all my teachers along the way-I became an Art major and never looked back. After I graduated, I struggled to find work in my hometown, but I finally landed my big break with an internship at the Fossil (fossil.com), at 28! I thought it was risky for me to leave a good paying job to take “a step backwards” as intern, but I felt I needed to do it. I was the oldest intern by a mile, but I was happy to have the chance to work there after applying several times and not getting hired. After Fossil, I was fortune to land a job at Panini America located in Irving, Texas. There I started as a designer and am now an Art Director. During the day I design trading cards and I illustrate at night and on the weekends. I never considered myself an illustrator but, I have to thank Stewart Scott-Curran who was working at Intercom at the time. He saw my work, and asked me to do a few blog illustrations. It ignited a passion in me that was missing from my work.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I try and incorporate as much texture and hand drawn elements as I can, in my work. I love how much depth it can add to a piece that was once flat and boring. I mainly use the computer to create my work but often make screen prints, that I print at home. The beauty of printing my own work is I can add to it on fly and change its direction. I hope my art inspires other designers just starting out to take risks with their work.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take friends down to Deep Ellum any chance I got. I love all the restaurants and live music. If they want something a little slower pace- the Dallas Arboretum or Dallas Museum of Art is a great choice. After walking the museum we walk across the street and enjoy the wide open spaces offered by Klyde Warren Park and hit up the Food Trucks that are there everyday.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Zach Weismann, he is the founder of MAG Collective. He has dedicated his business to working with companies that make a Global Impact for the better.