Luke Mateman’s Illustration Top Picks

Luke Mateman is a graphic designer, illustrator and self-confessed daydreamer. He has a signature style of combined illustration, design and text, often with an element of nostalgia or poignancy to his work.

He selected a few of his favourite pieces and gave us some background into their meaning and significance. He also shared some insights into his creativity and perspectives on his process:

“My personal work is best described by the word Aporia: an irresolvable internal contradiction. I see many contradictions in the world and these contradictions inspire me to share my perspectives through illustrations. The expression of doubt and anxiety as well as the optimism of hope combine to create a juxtaposition between genuine joy and great sadness. I wish to explore through illustration the feelings that lie between the joys of hope and the reality of modern life. I see beauty in loneliness and illustration can be very lonely.”

Please don’t let me be misunderstood

I love Nina Simone and the song ‘Please don’t let me be misunderstood’ is one of my favourites that constantly gets stuck in my head. The beautifully soulful, yet bitterly sad song, inspired me to create this illustration that uses bold colours, a mix of pop art-inspired images and playful lettering creates a vibrant and vivid-looking illustration that hides a melancholy centre.

Stranger be my friend 

I am fascinated by social media and the idea of making friends online, reaching out to strangers anywhere around the world as well as old friend. Friends show their love in times of trouble and we all need more friends.

Lost in the woods

Children book covers and old Disney cartoons, especially the scary kind, was the inspiration for this illustration. The combination of the Grimm Brother’s fairy tales as well as the feeling of being lost and isolated in the world infused with the music of Bon Iver’s was the base for creating the mood of this illustration.

Know thyself

Know thyself’ is an Ancient Greek saying, a Delphic maxim. The idea of having self-knowledge was the root idea of this piece. I do think that the idea of knowing yourself is challenging and a little silly in practice, for who really knows themselves? The lettering style was inspired by Keith Harring and an 80’s and 90’s street art aesthetic.

The Creative life

The anxiety and tension of being a creative is something I like to explore in my personal work. I love being a creative, there is nothing I would rather be but it can be taxing and challenging in a very personal way. The constant search for ideas, the doubt, the fight to be original and all the trails a creative can go through both inspires me and keeps me up at night.

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