Welcome to Maker Mondays, BYT’s newest weekly feature. On Mondays, we’ll be profiling a new D.C. “maker”: a local artisan who’s setting the game on fire with new and inventive fine art, crafts, music, or other creative ventures that we think you should take notice. This week, we’re introducing you to Matt Corrado, an artist and designer whose repertoire includes public murals, t-shirts, and skateboard designs where vibrant hues and comic influences are the focus.
What do you make?
I make visual art – more specifically pop art. Most recently I have been focusing on fine art and public murals, but I also own a design firm so I do a lot of graphic design and creative direction as well. I would consider myself a multidisciplinary artist.
Why do you make it?
I’ve been making art since I can remember. I would get sketch books and art supplies for christmas or birthdays and I was obsessed with comic books, Calvin and Hobbes, Ninja Turtles and skateboarding. All of those things played an influence on my love for art and pop art in general. I decided early into high school that art was what I wanted to do with my life and made my way to college at Rhode Island School of Design. After graduating and returning to D.C. I had a couple of jobs at different companies as illustrator and designer until deciding to go out on my own in 2010. Now I split my time between my company, fine art and creative projects.
How does this city influence your style?
I grew up in Silver Spring just outside of the city and remember riding the Red Line as a kid seeing all of the graffiti – it blew my mind. I’ve just always taken pride in being from this area. I feel like D.C. always gets overlooked as an artistic city, and outsiders seem to think it’s a stuffy white collar town with no scene. But I kind of appreciate that misconception, because I feel like a lot of the creatives here have an edge to them and it breeds a sort of an underdog mentality. I think we have to work a little harder to get the respect of places like New York and LA. D.C. is definitely growing as a creative community right now and I’m excited about that.
Can you describe the D.C. art scene in a sentence?
What’s your preferred medium?
When it comes down to it pen and ink is still probably my favorite medium, which might come as a surprise since a lot of my work is so bright and colorful. But my initial love was always drawing and really everything still comes back to that as the foundation of my work. Even with my paintings, the clean line work and compositions are an extension of my style of drawing. Lately with some of the larger works I have gotten more experience with spray paint and I really enjoy that medium also. I hope to really push my skills with spray paint in some of the projects I have coming up.
What’s the thing you’re most proud of?
I was recently able to participate in Pow! Wow! DC which was really awesome. I had the opportunity to paint a 250-foot mural along the branch trail in NoMa. The last couple public works of art have been really fulfilling and have really given me the confidence that I can work at a really large scale, so that’s exciting to me and hopefully something I can continue to push. There is a certain excitement and energy you get when painting in public and that I really enjoy.
What else is in store for you?
I have a few more mural pieces lined up this year and plan to continue with public installations as a main focus of my work. I’m also in the early stages of a new body of studio work for a solo show in the next year. I try to consistently create new work and look for ways to push myself, so to me it’s a lifelong effort. I don’t ever see myself not making art.
Overall though, I try not to get too ahead of myself. I like to stay flexible and take on opportunities as they come. I have two small kids so right now I’m enjoying spending the summer with my family. Being a dad rules.
Where should people go to see and support your art?