Matt Hamilton is a 1999 graduate of Revilla High School and a two-time Alaska state champion wrestler. He is now a local artist that makes designs for different events. His art can be found at Creative Hustler.
Interested in how he got his start, I asked him a few questions, hoping I can follow a similar path.
Current: How old were you when you started drawing? And what originally inspired you to draw?
Hamilton: I have been drawing since I could hold a crayon. I took the first skill that was offered in preschool, and made a career out of it.
Current: Is there a message you hope to send with your art? If so, what is the message?
Hamilton: I have a recipe when I am creating a design. I make something odd relatable, or I take something relatable and make it odd. That formula brings out a reaction that builds strong bonds with the people viewing my art.
Current: At what point did you feel your art was good enough to sell?
Hamilton: I have imposter syndrome, I still can’t believe people want to give me their hard earned money for the art I produce.
When I first got paying gigs, I was offered money from family and friends. They saw my skills as an investment into a person they cared about. I would eventually branch out to their friends. My first real art sale was when I was offered an art show in a gallery, and I sold all my pieces that opening night. I never looked back after that.
Current: What program do you use for digital drawing? And what would you recommend for beginners?
Hamilton: Sketchbook Autodesk is a free app on the iPad. I built my whole company around it. I am a caveman when it comes to digital art, I don’t use a stylus to do any of my art. I use my finger to draw everything.
Current: Who or what would you say is your biggest inspiration or influence?
Hamilton: My biggest influence starting out was my grandmother Opal Amundson. I then moved into street art in my teens, and became a big fan of artist Shepard Fairey that created the brand Obey. Right now I really enjoy the content Aaron Draplin puts out.
Current: What advice would you give for kids in high school who want to make a career out of their drawings or ideas?
Hamilton: I am addicted to failure. I try new things all the time. I love the process of learning new skills and displaying them in new art pieces. It’s all a gamble until you get good enough you can rig the system for you to win pretty regularly.