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Work / Illustration

Meet illustrator Matt Carignan’s acid-tinged cast of psychedelic creatures

Illustrator Matt Carignan’s Instagram page brings with it the unsettling feeling of falling down a rabbit warren into a wobbly alternate reality of acid-tinged psychedelia populated by an ever-evolving cast of characters which toe the line between friendly and unsettling.

The 28-year old illustrator grew up in the suburbs of Frederick, Maryland, moved to Baltimore to go to school at MICA, and lingered for a few years after graduating before moving out to Oakland, California where he tells us he’s been living and working here for two years.

“My style seems to change pretty consistently,” Matt says. “I feel like only within the past two or three years have I started to develop an aesthetic or way of working that feels right. I’ve been pretty influenced by old toys and stuffed animals recently. Also I’ve been watching a lot of sci-fi TV.”

Of his process, Matt comments: “Recently I’ve been just drawing and colouring in my sketchbook with markers and then scanning in and rearranging and manipulating drawings in Photoshop. This is mostly how I’ve been working but it changes depending on the project. I do prefer to have something tangible as a finished product rather than having it only exist digitally.”

As for the latest output from his Oakland studio, Matt explains: "It’s pretty all over the place. I’ve been working on random animations and drawings. Lately I’ve been getting more into drawing comics because it’s not as time consuming as animation and it still gets the point across. You can still show the same movements without drawing the same character 100 times in a row. It’s like a simplified version of a silent cartoon.

“Also I just put out a risograph zine printed by a press called Tiny Splendor which I’m pretty happy about. It’s basically a compilation of recent sketchbook drawings rearranged into a book. I want to put out more books in the future and maybe do a whole book focused around one character and their experience – something a little bit more focused that tells a longer story.”

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Matt Carignan

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