by Vincent Matthews SGFA
I draw because it is the way that I am wired and I can’t function without it. I find that it is a compulsion and largely my way of seeing things and communicating; fulfilling an emotional need and helping my analytical mind. I practically draw every day, in my art practice and specialist interior design profession. People come to me not only for my vast experience in a broad range of period interior architecture but also because I still draw by hand. Even computer people use me for this reason. Clients get excited to see my pencil sketch designs and visuals, as they bring the ideas to life in a way that hard computer aided drawings don’t (which basically tend to lack the human touch). Listed Buildings prefer my traditional ink technical drawings too.
My art practice features drawing as a very strong element too. Especially as I get a buzz from sketching on location and love to use this information as reference for my final pieces, combined with memories of the experience and the place. As I have been severely deaf (bordering on profoundly deaf) for my whole life, I am a visual person and was drawing before I could speak; being very observant….being a detail man!
I am a very versatile artist and work in a variety of media but drawing and particularly etching are the most dominant media that I use; with hard ground acid etched lines and aquatint.
I have always been interested in line weight, marks and space, which are a huge part of my art practice. There is something magical for me to use a pencil to interpret what I see with marks and lines and then to take this further with play and pairing back the drawing, using the distinctive character of etching and aquatint, which suits my mentality. It takes my work in a different direction, letting go of some of the control and working with the happy accidents that sometimes occur in the process. I never fully know how an etching will turn out until I get to the proof printing stage. To me it is like magic, although hard work and involving lots of concentration. As I used to be a keen photographer for years, there are parallels with using the acid process in developing an etching plate. To supplement this, I often use engraving burins and scorpers on my etching aquatints, to compliment the different line types and widths, with crisp lines against soft lines/marks, to build up some depth and textures.
With the subject matter that interests me the most, black and white aquatint helps to express the drawing and also the eeriness of the location; leaving something for the imagination for the viewer. Although I love colour, I much prefer black and white in my etchings because colour can distract from the drawing and dominate the subject too much.
I am very drawn to the vast desert like landscape of Dungeness and the area around Rye, near where I live. I love the large sky, the old wrecks of buildings, boats and relics, with their historic affects on the area. It tends to suit the character of my work and I find that I connect with it. I am always inspired when I am down there sketching on my stool. Us artists are often obsessives and tend to go to the same places or other similar ones that inspire us. Although I do get stopped from time to time by interested viewers, I love the general tranquility of the places that I visit to sketch. I am also interested in everyday objects and making the mundane interesting.