I stumbled upon the art of Matt Cipov a few months ago when looking for Year of the Tiger items… and I ended up getting lost in his world for a long while. It was a mesmerizing, somewhat creepy and thoroughly inspiring while, and with every piece I saw, I knew I wanted to know more about Matt and his work. The ghoulish characters, animal masks and teems of hands, all drawn with amazing linework and detail — I challenge you to visit his shop or website and not get caught up in his work for a spell. More about Matty8080:
1. How and when did you start getting into and making art?
I’ve been drawing since I was a toddler. It’s always been my favorite activity and since I was a little boy, I knew I was supposed to grow up and be an artist.
2. How did you make the jump to being fully self-employed and selling your work online?
I freelanced for a bit right out of college and then I spent several years working at art desk jobs. When the corporate world got too oppressive, I decided to go self employed.
3. Introvert or extrovert?
When I am focused on art, I am 100% introvert. When I let myself take a break, I convert to at least 60% extrovert.
4. What are your preferred/trusted art tools/supplies (hands-on and/or digital)?
My only 2 time tested tools of preference are: my Pilot BPS fine ballpoint pen and the Sharpie brand fine point black marker. Everything else is used on rotation.
5. What was the first concert you ever went to?
It was a combo tour show for the MONKEES and Weird Al Yankovic. The year was 1987.
6. Something tells me you don’t have a “typical day”… so what is a sample “day in the life” of Matty Cipov?
Wake up, check and respond to emails. Update my sites (Twitter, Etsy, Flickr). Surf the web a bit. Work on bits and pieces of various projects unless something is crucial, or a due date is close. Spend some time brainstorming on new ideas. Prep packages for things ordered from my online store. Then after 5pm I am in full on DAD mode.
7. Why “8080”?
After my father died in late 2003, I needed something to recharge my love of art. I decided to start blogging and I mysteriously did so under the screen name 808080. The number 80 has stuck ever since. Why? I love numbers (but I am terrible at math).
8. Happiest kid memory?
This is a tough one!!! It is a toss up between: the 2 times I went to Florida with my family… various times hanging out on my Grandparents’ farm… or the time when I was a toddler and my dad took me out lilac picking in a field.
9. If you had the time, what’s something you’d work at improving or learning?
I wish I knew coding. It would be so nice if I could update or rebuild my website without any help.
10. You live in Milwaukee… How did you end up there and what do you like best about it?
I was born in Milwaukee, WI, grew up in Waukesha, WI and now I am in Milwaukee (probably to stay). I like Milwaukee because it doesn’t overly strive to be hip. It is a good place to just be yourself and feel like you have a voice. I also like the Milwaukee art scene. It is very friendly and not at all competitive.
11. What is your kryptonite?
I have a weak spot for food. I have this weird, almost ancient Roman style need to enjoy food of all kinds as often as possible. The day should have 5 or 6 meal times in it. That would be awesome. Maybe it helps that no matter how much I love food, I haven’t put on any weight since college (knock on wood) and that is a nice thing to be able to say at age 33.
12. You make music and used to play in numerous bands — what’s the story about this side of your life?
I’ve always been a keyboard buff. Eventually I taught myself how to make music. That led to home solo recordings and eventually I joined various bands. As of now, music has been put on pause. It’ll be back soon.
13. You use a lot of vintage stamps in your work; how do you decide which ones to use? (ie. are the dates legit?)
I have collected dozens of stampers over the years and what I use now are the ones that I enjoy filling empty spaces in my art with. I like how they complete compositions. And yes, when I date stamp my art, the date is the time of completion of the drawing. I used to do it much more often. Now I save it for occasions, or art that happen to feel special to me.
14. When/where/how do you get your best ideas for your art?
It is always so random. Ideas come to me in little bits and bites. That is probably why my art tends to be so stark, and small format. If I don’t commit them to paper quickly, the ideas often get lost in my head.
15. Most often visited website(s)?
16. Worst job you ever had?
My art desk job from that lasted from the early to mid 2000’s.
17. I’m intrigued by the fact that you plan to release a comedy album… Who makes you laugh?
Todd Barry… Bill Hicks… Lenny Bruce… Patton Oswalt… Tim and Eric… The Frogs… David Cross… Zach Galifianakis… Longmont Potion Castle… Richard Pryor… the list is huge, as is my comedy album collection.
18. What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I haven’t done Karaoke for a long time, but I used to fall back on a lot of White Stripes, David Bowie, The Cars… lots of stuff. If I had to do some Karaoke right now, I’d probably choose a Kiss song. My son Max and I love Kiss!
19. What are you most proud of right now?
I am proud that after almost 4 and a half years of being a self employed artist, things just keep getting better and better and I am having the most fun I’ve had in my entire life.
20. Finish this sentence: “I am…”
I am Matty Cipov, I make art.
I am a silly goose.
Well, this is seriously the most talented silly goose I’ve ever met. Thanks so much for playing along and getting my drawing sensibilities all riled up, Matt — you have yourself some mad art skills.
Everyone else… feel free to decorate your head or your desktop with one of Matt’s masks or wallpaper. I’m totally rocking the giraffe face right now.