The Really Good Artist – Interview with Matt Gray

Matt Gray is a really good artist making really good drawings out of Rochester, NY. Recognized as the “Really Good Artist” on Instagram, Matt puts a relatively good pen to paper and creates scratchy celebrity masterpieces, comical illustrations and plays with his own cynical insecurities through an array of self portraits. His artwork can be so uncomfortably relatable it leaves you wondering if you’re acknowledging your own idiosyncrasies or the ones portrayed in his drawings. Taking yourself less seriously is liberating and Matt Gray frequently incorporates that theme into his artwork.

If you don’t follow the Really Good Artist, you don’t know what’s good.

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In a few words, who is Matt Gray?

A 29 year-old starving internet artist who loves animals more than people.

When did you start showcasing your art online and more publicly?

I started posting my drawings last May, I believe. I posted the first drawing I did and my entire Instagram account has kind of documented my “career” to this point.

What/who do you think influenced you to start drawing?

Honestly, I started drawing out of pure boredom. I got into a little legal trouble, had to change some of my ways, and drawing kind of filled a void for me.

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Do you think your style has evolved or has it stayed pretty consistent over the years?

I’d say my style has definitely evolved a good bit. I still try to keep it pretty simple. Almost all of the drawings are done in one attempt and in under ten minutes. If it turns out terrible then it’s funny and if it comes out halfway decent then it’s a pleasant surprise.

Some of your drawings are comical and others seem a little more dark humoured. How personal is your work?

Most of the drawings are very personal. I’m kind of cynical, but I like to laugh about it when possible. The darker stuff is probably more of who I really am when I can’t laugh about it.

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You’ve done a few celebrity drawings. Has anyone ever given you a shout out or reposted your stuff?

Yes. Angel Olsen posted my drawing of her, Tallulah Willis recently posted my drawing of her. Probably a few others that I’m forgetting. The band Wavves put one of my drawings on a shirt. Danny McBride and Sarah Silverman commented on their portraits. It’s pretty cool when that stuff happens, especially when it’s someone I’m of fan of.

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You lose both hands in some freak accident. What now?

I think I’d honestly just have someone else draw my ideas. I think the concept is the most important part of the drawing so as long as we have the concept I don’t think it matters much what it looks like.

To your eye, what makes good art?

Anything unique, funny, disgusting.  There’s a million people out there painting a portrait that looks like a photograph. I don’t get it.

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Interview by Lauren L. Smith
In collaboration with SPIT GALLERY