Thursday, 3 March 2011

Artist: Matt Sewell

Matt Sewell

Matt Sewell

Artist, illustrator, mystic and explorer, Matt Sewell could be seen as the Banksy of the bird world. At this year’s festival he’ll be creating a unique bird hide in front of the Caught by The River stage. Combining art installation, meeting place, stage and shelter, it will be the perfect place to kick back and watch Port Eliot’s birdlife on the estuary, as well as taking in Matt’s stunning artwork.
Originally from County Durham, Matt flew south to make his trade in the world of freelance illustration. He works in a variety of media including t-shirts, posters, flyers, interiors, sculptures and walls. Showing solo or with groups such as Scrawl Collective and Goback2d Matt continually brings his own merry band of lonely girls, birds, cloud pandas, woodland creatures and dreamy landscapes to galleries, boutiques and hidden back-streets across the world.
He’s illustrated for the Guardian, Big Issue, Topman and Puma amongst many others; painted underpasses for the RSPB; created eyecatching window displays for Eastpak; and exhibited in London, Manchester, Santa Monica, Tokyo and Paris, as well as being an avid ornithologist and regular contributor to Caught by The River (he also designed their logo).

A peek into Matt Sewell’s bird hide

Can you tell us a bit more about the bird hide that you’re creating? 
The hide is a simple wooden sculpture that will be found down by the river. I’ve painted it inside and out, it’s pretty loud so I don’t think it’s going to be that inconspicuous as a hide, but it’ll be a lovely place to hang out and watch the herons, shelducks and egrets. It’ll also a be a great place for kids to hang out, with a bird-drawing competition (with my art as prizes), surprise acoustic sets and face painting from Pete Fowler, who I’ve known for a few years now. He sometimes lets me look through his glasses; I see pretty colours.
What gave you the idea? Have you done anything like this before?
I’ve always wanted to make a hide and fill it with my work; in the woods was how I originally imagined it, but by the river is just perfect.
What came first: your love of birds or your love of art and illustrating?
Birds came first. My earliest memory is hiding in my mam and dad’s bed with a Jackdaw flying round the room. Quite terrifying really; they certainly made an impression. As much as I love birds they still spook me out.
What’s your favourite bird and why?
At the minute it’s a Kingfisher as last year I lived right by a river and saw one just about everyday. Now we live by the sea and I don’t, I see seagulls. I miss the kingfisher.
How would you describe your creative style?
Will this be your first time at Port Eliot Festival? 
First time for me, although I have already been to the site to paint the hide, I love it! Totally amazing place. The festival is gonna be fantastic
Who are you looking forward to meeting/ seeing/ hanging out with? 
I’m really looking forward to Ceri Levi’s Bird Effect Symposium and I really want to catch Fionn ReganJarvis’s Sunday Service will be great to see as well. Plus I can’t wait to get some scran offHugh and wash it down with some of Caught By The River’s own special ale.
Tell us a bit about your Spotting & Jotting competition?
Spotting & Jotting is a collaborative idea with Ceri Levi. There’s a checklist of birds to be found in the Cornwall area at this time of year, but just in case there are none around we’ll be hanging a selection of my painted birds around the festival site for children and keen twitchers to go spotting and jotting. Participants will be rewarded with a special badge at my bird hide.
What else are you planning to do at the festival?
I will be coming with my beautiful one-month-old daughter, so we’ll just be taking it easy and enjoying what Port Eliot has to offer.


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