Matt Griffin discusses his work as an illustrator and author based in Clare and how Vodafone helps him sell his services around the world.
For most people the idea of dreaming for a living would be, well, a dream come true. But for illustrator and author Matt Griffin that’s exactly what he does. Using technology and his experience from his career to date, he’s been able to turn his natural creativity into one of his greatest strengths.
“I arrived at this profession because, like all other artists, I am a total and unrepentant dreamer. This means I like to explore things visually, I love stories and anything else that stretches my imagination,” he said.
“My imagination is my engine room and the more untethered it is allowed to be, the better my product. Combining this aspect of personality with technical know-how gained over years of work and experience has allowed me to slowly but surely build a network of clients across the globe, concentrated mostly in the US, UK and here in Ireland.”
Griffin has worked for the last eleven years as a freelance Illustrator, mostly for publishers creating book covers and interior illustrations for books but also for film companies creating ‘key art’ such as posters and DVD or BluRay covers. His clients include Disney Pixar, Warner Bros, Universal, Penguin and Harper Collins and he’s widely recognised as one of the most successful illustrators in Ireland.
“I’ve done lots of varied work but in the main it’s all about books and films. Essentially what I do is operate a services business. My career has given me a level of expertise in things like composition, colour theory, typography and with technical tools like Adobe software,” he said.
“My clients are in need of visual solutions to their problems in a marketing sense. They need their products to stand out from the shelves, appeal to certain demographics and so on. My service therefore combines aesthetic problem-solving with technical know-how.”
Being connected to the rest of the world via Vodafone’s state of the art broadband services means he can display his wares on a global stage from his studio outside Ennis in Clare.
“My entire business is web-based - I deliver digital files to end users via the net and I market my business online, mostly using social media and my network of colleagues and clients are all just an email or Messenger chat way. This is the great benefit of working as an illustrator in the modern age - I can show my wares, for free, to potential clients everywhere in the world,” he said.
Griffin is also the author of a trilogy of children’s books called The Ayla Trilogy, published by The O’Brien Press. In future he’d like to diversify his business and use his creativity in new ways facilitated by technology, and writing books is just one example of this.
“I get great satisfaction from happy clients but there comes a time when making your own ideas a reality outweighs the desire to meet a client’s needs. Most of the time you are also happy when they are happy but whether you are or not is beside the point - once the client is happy, that’s all that really matters,” he said.
“However as I’ve explained I am a dreamer and that means I’m constantly coming up with ideas for stories, characters, colour palettes and creatures. The variety of ways a creative person can deliver on these ideas is so exciting these days and I’d like to explore that more.”
Pointing to technologies like virtual and augmented reality, interactive tv shows, online motion comics and online platforms like Vimeo and YouTube, Griffin argues that the sky is the limit for creative people working from Ireland today.
“I can download a new application, learn how to use it via online tutorials and put work out into the world very quickly. The trick is to monetise that work but that’s possible in a myriad of ways, from licensing to selling intellectual property.”
His future plans are to continue to develop new skills with new technology and upskill his service offerings, as well as to let his imagination off the leash and see where it, combined with new skills, takes him.
“To me it’s important to not get boxed in, to expand and develop all the time and to never stop learning or being curious. These things all feed off each other and hopefully lead to new and exciting doors being opened. I’m very lucky to live in the time I do because thanks to modern technology it is easier than ever to dream for a living. And I’m not sure I’d be able to do anything else.”