151 - LIGHTBOX: Micah Mate

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Through out these 6 years in California I have met some cool people. I've met a lot of passionate people and some not so passionate. I've met party goers and home bodies. Oh yeah, and I have also met a ton more artists than when I was in NY. I see it this way, here I am more in tune with the art world than I was when I was in NY. That being said, I had a chance to sit down with one of my buddies from Modesto and ask him some questions.

  • What is your name or what you'd like to be called?

Micah Maté

  • Tell me a little bit about your art background?

I've been drawing my entire life, took art in high school and have my A.A. and B.A. in Art. As a kid I wanted to be an animator, but once I got to university my focus was fine art painting and illustration.

  • How and when did you start drawing?

I've always drawn, but the start of my actual pursuit to improve and add to my skill set, I was about 8.

  • Do you find that you have a style in your art?

I don't have a style and the graphic and illustration work that I've done in the past keeps me flexible to work within the parameters of any given job. I haven't arrived at a style even within my personal work. I do, however,  feel that having a recognizable style can be helpful to build your brand and bring you more work.

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  • What are your favorite tools to use to create your art?

Pencils, pens, brushes, ink, watercolors and really good paper.

  • Who's work would compare your art to?

Honestly, I have many influences, but those influences don't necessarily carry over in a visual sense. Sometimes it's the mentality of the construction of a piece or the mentality of certain artistic processes.

  • Which artists have been a huge influence to you?

Well, a lot of my influences aren't visual artists at all, but writers and philosophers. I have a tendency to be very cerebral when it comes to thinking about art and I find myself often inspired to create work that examines ideas. The influences in this category (some being comic writers) would include: Daniel Quinn, Lao Tzu, Jack London, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Thich Nhat Hanh, Emma Goldman, Peter Kropotkin, Ernest Callenbach, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Upton Sinclair and Chris Claremont.

In the visual artists category (which includes filmmakers) include: Frank Frazetta, Arthur  Adams, Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee, Ben Caldwell, William Adolphe Bouguerreau, Alphonse Mucha, Martin Scorsese, Terrence Malick, Darren Aronofsky, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Orson Welles, Dan Brereton, Jimmie Robinson, Fritz Lang, Juanjo Guarnido and Hayao Miyazaki to name a few.

  • What are your biggest accomplishments in art?

I don't think that's for me to say, but I can say that, for me, artistic accomplishments are doing better art-making today than you did the day before. I might be able to better answer this questions when I'm 80.

  • What are your biggest failures?

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My biggest failure to this day is failing at failing. I've always been afraid to make mistakes and it has negatively impacted my life on a grand scale in all areas, not just art. Fear of failure twists you up and makes you feel imprisoned in a life that you don't want to admit is yours. It bottles you up and, in my experience, the best work I do is when I feel free of that. In short: Be true to yourself and your vision, even in the face failure.

  • If you could draw/paint/create like anyone alive or dead, who would it be?

I don't want to create like anyone else. I feel I have lots of beautiful things and stories to share with others. My goal is to share them in a universal and economical way.

  • What would you say to someone who wants to start drawing but feels insecure about their art?

Firstly and most importantly: Be kind to yourself. Progress is only ever made through trial and error. Who you are now is not who you are becoming. Be fearless and make the necessary mistakes to push you through road blocks and speed up your evolution as an artist and as a human being.