BY JOHN CARTER JR
All Art and Photos featured in this interview are by and are the property of Matthew Sorgie.
In this week’s Artists Across America, we speak with Matthew Sorgie, an 18-year-old artist based in Connecticut. Sorgie is a talented artist and YouTuber, whose channel has more than 160,000 subscribers. His channel features art ranging in colorful style and subjects, and his videos range in topic while always being a constant source of relaxing low stress vibes. TMN spoke with Sorgie concerning his art, his channel, and his inspirations.
John Carter JR (JCJ)- How was your experience first getting into art?
Matthew Sorgie (MS)- In all honesty, I think I started drawing before I learned how to walk. From a young age, art has always been something I gravitated towards as a fun creative outlet. Because of that childhood joy for it, my experience has been positive from the beginning and it’s never gotten boring. There’s always something new to learn and I can constantly push myself to new limits.
JCJ- In your videos on your YouTube channel, you discuss your art journey and mention taking art courses. How did these courses affect your perspective of art and were they constrictive?
MS- I’ve been fortunate to have learned from several great art teachers so far, and without a doubt, they have shaped me into the artist I am today. Throughout middle and high school I took a drawing class every Saturday which centered around fundamental technical skills which helped tremendously in improving the quality of my work.
However, my courses in school were focused mainly on thematic principles. Having this balance of technique and concept was essential in building a balanced foundation for my work. Funny enough, I actually felt more constricted when it came to producing conceptual work than the technical work. I struggled deeply with perfectionism and was harsh to shut down ideas that I didn’t think were unique, profound, or impactful enough. I was obsessed with having my work look impressive and I can’t thank my high school art teacher enough for getting me past that toxicity. Since that experience I’ve found a new freedom in my work, opening doors for experimentation and letting myself rediscover my childhood joy for art.
JCJ- What piece or collection of pieces are you most proud of completing and why?
MS- My favorite collection has to be MISHMASH. I like to call it a colorful compilation of clutter. For those viewing my work the series shows the composition within a mess and presents how it fits a modern standard of beauty. But for me, this series was all about self-growth and having fun. It’s quite symbolic of the lessons my high school art teacher taught me about letting go of perfection. I let my guard down for this series and truly felt free while developing the work. For several years I longed for that feeling. It is still different from anything I have ever created and exists as a bit of a time capsule to remind me to not take myself so seriously.
JCJ- Who, what, and where inspires your art, or what major influences are guiding your ideas now?
MS- Oh gosh this is a tough one. I can rattle off so many talented artists people should follow, but I think the best sources of inspiration are the ones you would never expect. Some of my favorite inspirational material has come from the books at my local thrift shop. Eastern European tile designs, American quilt patterns, National Park photography, the list goes on for days but feeding your eyes with these unique little treasures is what helps set your work apart.
Anyone can hop on Instagram and follow the top-ten most followed artists for inspiration, but when you take the time to dive in and unpack the simplest beauties in life that truly inspire YOU, that’s when you’ll experience the most visual growth. So dig a little deeper and spend some time with your nose in some books or on the internet doing some visual research. Currently, I’ve been searching through old family film photos and using them as references for my current series. I’ve been having fun manipulating memories into colorful dream-like scenes to capture the beauty and bliss of childhood.
JCJ- How do you balance your art and social media work? Does it ever become overwhelming?
MS- It can definitely become difficult at times to manage each aspect of my platform. From my online shop, to social media channels, to actually putting pencil to paper, it often feels like there aren’t enough hours in a day. However, I’m so grateful to love what I do which keeps it from becoming overwhelming. Although, a few extra helping hands would be nice.
JCJ- What projects are you looking forward to working on?
MS- As much as I’ve loved my time in illustration and fine art, I’m so excited to be pursuing animation. Finishing an animation brings me a different type of joy than finishing a painting or drawing. I love seeing my characters and scenes in motion. It also feels so great to have the challenge of learning brand new techniques and software. It’s definitely getting my creative juices flowing and I already have a long list of ideas I want to produce. My current project is a bit of a secret, but it should be out by Christmas.
JCJ- Is there any work of yours that you are proud of but were annoyed with while working on it?
MS- Funny you ask! The painting I just finished, Strawberry Momma, has been a bit of a battle to complete. It’s the first time in a while I’ve been so particular about my process. When painting the final image I worked directly from a digital color mockup, so I already knew exactly what I wanted my painting to look like before I started. The project planning was helpful and efficient but made my process feel more like a paint by number than anything else. I do love the end result, but it may be a while before I attempt to work so strictly again.
JCJ- You have mentioned in your videos being interested in animation, can we expect to see any content about animation on your channel?
MS- Definitely! I’m not quite confident in my skills yet, but I am more than happy to show my audience how I am attempting to teach myself to hopefully inspire my audience to challenge themselves to a new technique too. There will definitely be a video for my upcoming animation so look out for that!
JCJ- How do you hope people feel concerning your art?
MS- When people view my art, my younger audience especially, I hope they come away from it inspired. I try my best to tell people that creativity has no rulebook and it’s essential that you create the work that is fulfilling for you. It can be really intimidating when your feed is packed with incredible work from professional artists and it feels like you’ll never reach their level or that you need to make work that looks like theirs in order to be successful.
But it’s really important to run your own race and grow in your unique craft through experimentation and consistent practice. Art is subjective. My art holds no more value than that of a kindergartener’s, so we can’t take ourselves so seriously all the time. Just enjoy your journey.
TMN thanks Matthew Sorgie for his time and comments. He is currently selling prints of his work on his website, link below. You can find him at these social media links below: