An interview with Mat Maitland

We caught up with renowned Art Director and Visual Artist Mat Maitland to discuss his inspirations, designs and recent work for Please Magazine featuring Photographer Nadia Lee Cohen.

Tell us about your involvement in the latest edition of Please Magazine and the inspiration behind it?

I was asked to guest edit and art direct the latest issue of Please to celebrate it’s 10 year anniversary. This was a unique opportunity to enter the realm of the printed magazine and create something that would reflect my world as a one off project. It wasn’t exactly entirely new territory for me but it still had its challenges. The project was exciting and is allowing me to broaden my audience a little bit. As for the inspiration behind it, I would say it has a pop sub-narrative which can be found in a lot of my own personal work.

You are also Creative Director of the design company at Big Active, what has been your most exciting piece of work to date?

It would probably be Michael Jackson’s Xscape album from 2014. I created and designed the cover image. As a complete MJ super-fan this was a dream come true, something I had been fantasising about from a very young age. 

Where did your love for surrealism derive from? 

Surrealism and pop art are recurrent themes in my work and I’ve immersed myself into those worlds since I was a kid. I can’t determine exactly how it developed. I think I have always been attracted to fantasy and I suppose surrealism tapped into something for me, a way of looking at things in an unusual and fantastical way.

Has the way you create imagery changed throughout your career?

Not really. The process has stayed the same. Aesthetically, my images have become more refined and polished compared to when I created the collages for Goldfrapp’s Black Cherry album in 2002. Once the collage renaissance emerged, that cut-out style quickly became mainstream, almost pedestrian. I wanted to move away from it. Today, I still use the same process of abstraction and cutting images but I wanted the final piece to be more sophisticated and believable in it’s construction, to evolve a new form of collage that can mesh seamlessly with contemporary fashion imagery so the fact it’s a collage is secondary or almost invisible.

Places & people who inspire you?

This is always a hard question to answer because no inspiration lives in a vacuum to be drawn from in isolation. Really my inspiration comes from everywhere - films, dreams, paintings, holidays. Having said that I do have a constant fascination with Michael Jackson, Prince, Elvis and John Lennon.

Mat Maitland- Lets Dream

Nadia Lee Cohen- Twin Peaks

Hajime Sorayama – Technosexual Desire

Mat Maitland- Michael Jackson Xscape Album Cover

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