We had the good fortune of connecting with Matthew Bird and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matthew, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Like many art students after graduation, I was “painting on the side” while working in another field to make money. In my case it was graphic design. At the time, I thought it was a blessing to have a creative outlet where I could make a living, even if it wasn’t what I really wanted to be doing. I was also rather good at it, and continued to get promoted up the ladder until I was working as an associate creative director, managing other people and doing little of the actual creative work. The agency model seemed ironic to me, the better you are at something, the less you get to do it. Eventually I was miserable, and couldn’t keep going. I knew I had gifts and talents that I wasn’t using and I needed a change. That was when I walked away and focused on my own business. The thought process was one of necessity, I felt I was dying inside. It was a scary time, and a big risk to go on my own, but I was painting again, and much happier. Running my own business means I wear a lot of hats, and I still have to do stuff I don’t enjoy. But that comes with any job, and now I know I’m doing what I was born to do.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a realist painter that works in watercolor. A lot of people seem to have a certain idea of what watercolors should look like, and assume my paintings are done in a different medium. So I get the question “That’s watercolor?” a fair amount. I paint tight, with vivid colors and rich darks, which does set my work a part from the norm somewhat. I got where I am today with some God-given talent and a lot of hard work and study. There are exceptions, but I generally don’t subscribe to the idea that people are born with “artistic genius.” There’s a lot of failure along the way and you have to keep at it. Working in creative fields is very enjoyable at times, but it’s definitely not easy. I strive for excellence in my work, and I’m the kind pf person who sees where I fall short of my own expectations. I look up the those I admire in my field and try to learn from them. In that sense, I encourage people to aim high and always pursue the next thing. My brand is my work. It’s about painting the world around me with precision and clarity, which I strive to convey to all people through the universal language of representational art.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wife is pretty amazing. Being married to an artist isn’t easy, and I wouldn’t be where I am without her love and support. In addition, it was when I started to paint my wife and children that my art stepped up to a new level. A pivot point in my career came when I painted a portrait of my daughter titled “Lost In Thought.” My family is a great source of inspiration, and my figurative work is largely focused around them.