Thursday, June 9, 2016

South Burlington, Vermont Art-ists. Spotlight: Matt Douglas

                                           Art in the Heart of SB

                                                 Meet Matt Douglas

Re-Form School

     South Burlington not only has art, it is home to many talented artists in residence, a fact that has not escaped Ilona Blanchards eye. Blanchard, the city's project director, felt it was important to provide a community space for artist to meet each other. A representative at the Vermont Arts Council suggested holding a potluck and thus the meet-up for South Burlington artists was born. The first gathering happened at Wheeler Park, in mid-May, when seven artists met at the picnic tables for potluck, but even better, for connection and conversation. Among the talented residents present was Matt Douglas, 

a professional designer and illustrator and, according to his web site, self-described "nice guy".

     Douglas, who has lived in South Burlington since 2011, says his artistic roots reach back to cartoons.  From a young age, Bugs, Count Duckula, Stimpy, Donatello and Optimus Prime all helped develop his passion for cartoons. The humor, varying characters, and themes struck a chord. After spending most of his teenage years drawing during algebra and history classes, he attended the Savannah College of Art & Design where he honed his skills in Animation.

     When you open the artist's website at , you may think you reached author Seth Godin’s site instead. Even though the baldhead shots could make them twins, some might say that Douglas has cooler glasses. Proceed further and view portfolios of the artist's work noting his Looney Tunes sense of humor.  Douglas says his aim is to solicit a reaction from those viewing his art.

     Douglas’s  designs are created (drawn and inked) digitally on an iPad Pro and then produced on prints and T-shirts. A silkscreen application helps the prints stand out. Douglas is a perfectionist regarding his art, in regards to the accurate representation, right down to a given line. His illustrations have landed on the pages of Seven Days and traveled the world in various gallery shows. Douglas has displayed his work locally at Art Riot, and Half Lounge. Further afield, his work was displayed in Amsterdam and a show in New York City. His next showing will be at Switchback Brewery in November.

     Douglas has an impressive collection of gig posters he has created. They provide a creative arena in which graphic designers can indulge their passion for both art and music. Of Monsters & Men, Guster, Kaki King, The Sam Roberts Band, Jedi Mind Tricks, and Dragonforce are just some of the many gig posters for view in his portfolio online. Douglas, whose social media handle is CartoonDrum, is a musician and a drummer, once opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd when playing for the band, Cosmos Mariner. He currently drums for the Al Moore Blues Band. 

     A recent commission led Douglas to create a product at the Community Sailing Center in Burlington. Watch for sailboats with flying fish – sails sporting fish, perhaps visible from shore. Other clients include Green Mountain Coffee, Higher Ground, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Unicel, and more.

     Two especially eye-catching pieces from the Douglas portfolio include the "Bacon Cheeseburger", and"Moo!" The first, which is part of the artist's "Favorite Food" series, highlights a ninja swine ready for action atop his prized bovine, surrounded by a cheese-orange background. "Moo!" is a three-color screen print showing the face of a cow surrounded by wild cherry back-ground. 

     ARTIST MEET-UP & POTLUCK, Thursday, June 9.
Artists, pro and amateur alike, are invited to the next (second) Artist Meet-up & Potluck, Thursday, June 9, 5:30 p.m. at the Davis Studio, 916 Shelburne Road. 

Special thanks to Carol Vasta Folley for considerable editing of this report.