Matt is the guy on the left!
With brother Ian and girl-friend Sarah.
Rising star in the comic-heaven ist multi-talent Matt Busch from Detroit. His works are embellishing more and more american covers and trading card sets. For various TV sitcoms and movies, like Married... with children, Con Air or Matrix, he was involved in the production-design. As a typical representative of the Star Wars influence artist generation, he recently has become an "official" Star Wars artist. His works can be seen frequently in the Star Wars Insider and the Star Wars kids magazine. Matt also created three motif of the Canadian Episode I release. Only in Germany he's nearly unknown. And that's are shame! I'm sure, he will advance into the group of the "big names" in the years to come. I met Matt Busch during the Wizard World Con in Chicago and talked to him in full length.
What triggered your interest in art?
Star Wars, without a doubt! I was four years old when Star Wars first came out, so it really was a major visual milestone for me as a child, where I first began to notice things like design and art.
"Planetmatt Entertainment" seems to be a family enterprise with your father and brother helpng you at the cons. Everybody in your family seems to be creative. How did this influence you?
I've been very lucky that I've been able to drag my family and friends to various shows and conventions to help me out! My whole family is very creative, but we're all in different professions of art. My brother, Ian, is an actor; my sister, Delena, is a hair designer; and my other sister, Jessica, is a dancer.
Was it always clear to you to purchase a career in a creative profession?
To have a CREATIVE profession, yes. But I never knew exactly what I wanted to do. And with as many things as I have going, sometimes I still think I don't know! Haha! I've always been 'the jack of all trades, master of none' but that's always been the secret of my success. I keep my hands in all sorts of different pots, so when one field of entertainment is slow, I've already got something else cooking.
What's your formal training?
I studied at seven different places after high school. Most notably
are Macomb Community College, Art Center College of Design, and the Los
Angeles Art Academy. Art Center is also the school that many other
Star Wars artists graduated from, like Ralph McQuarrie and Drew Struzan.
I also teach part time at several colleges, currently at Center for Creative Studies and Macomb Community College. Ceneter for creative Studies also happens to be where several Star Wars artists have graduated, including Doug Chiang.
Your musical abilities shouldn't go unnoticed. Why didn't you become a professional musician?
I was in a band called Passion, early on. I found it hard to work with guys who weren't as committed as I was. One of the reasons I like being an artist and a writer is that I'm responsible for everything, and it let's me take charge and do what I want.
Do you still play in a band?
No. I wish I had the time to! But I still tinker around when I take breaks from the daily grind. I play guitar, drums, piano and keyboards.
What are your personal favorites? What kind of music do you like?
I like everything! Obviously John Williams is very inspirational,
and got me into classical early on. Some of my more contemporary
tastes are Bjork, Radiohead, Stone Temple Pilots, Semisonic, Foo Fighters,
Beastie Boys, Beck, Sloan, Garbage, Nuno, Van Halen, Rush, Dixie Chicks,
Enuff Z Nuff. The list goes on. I have music on a lot when I work,
so I listen to quite a bit!
One of my favorite bands is Some Assembly Required, and I'm dating the singer, Diana Marie Balsama! It's been exciting! I'm also good friends with the guys in Poison, which is neat because I've always been a fan of theirs, too.
How did you become an "official" Star Wars artist?
Peter Schweighofer, an editor at West End Games, was the first to give
me 'official' Star Wars work, doing illustrations for the Star Wars Adventure
Journal and other various projects for the roleplaying game. I actually
just started on my first project for the new Star Wars roleplaying game
from Wizards of the Coast, a book called Secrets of Naboo. So it's
interesting to see the Star Wars stuff come full circle.
After doing a bunch of stuff for West End, that led to the cover of Star Wars: Tales of the Empire for Bantam Books, which was a New York Times Bestseller. That really pushed me up front as being known as a Star Wars artist, and I started doing projects for Disneyland, Del Rey, Mattel Toys, Star Wars Insider Magazine, Star Wars Kids Magazine, Team Disney, and Trends International.
I started doing official Star Wars work in 1994, but it wasn't until 1999 that Lucasfilm proclaimed me an "official Star Wars artist."
And...? Any involvement in Episode II?
Not yet. I'm sure I'll be involved with the onslaught of advertising, merchandising, and related projects, though. I'm excited! I hear the look and designs of the film are just amazing!
Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) bought your "Death of Chewbacca" painting?
Yes, actually, he bought every single piece of Chewbacca art that I've done! I had the pleasure of hanging out with Peter and his wife, Angelique, at the recent Wizard World 2000 show in Chicago. The "Death of Chewbacca" piece is very emotional, and no one deserves to have it hanging in their home more that Peter himself.
Your own stories often have a mystery touch. Do you have any personal relation to occult things?
No, not at all. I find the supernatural extremely fascinating,
and it makes for great storytelling, but I have no personal connection
However, I used to have these gatherings called "Mysteries of the Unknown Parties" where I would invite witches, fortune tellers, pyschics, and other interesting walks of life. We would sit around and do experiments and tell spooky stories and cast spells. I'm not sure how much of it I believe, but I saw many things with my own eyes that I cannot explain! Perhaps some of
it is real. Anyway, those experiences are probably where I draw a lot of my inspiration from.
You always worked in different media - film, comics, writing, painting. Is there's something you prefer?
My blessing and my curse is that I love them all! I don't think there is one media I like more than another. They all communicate ideas and stories through art, which is what I love. Having all of those opportunities keeps me from ever getting bored with one media!
Is there's something you still want to you but haven't done yet?
I've been trying to do Star Wars comics for Dark Horse for a long time. I've worked for every Star Wars licensee except Dark Horse, which is funny, because Star Wars comics are what I'd like to do the most! Dark Horse loves my work, but never give me the call. I've been keeping busy, and I'm content with the rest of the Star Wars stuff, but hopefully I'll get to do
What are your current projets, respectively future projects?
I'm currently developing several of my own projects for films. Alizarin's Journal, which is a supernatural thriller; Diamond Joe's, which is a romantic comedy; and Crisis, which is an action-packed thriller.
And in comics?
Where do I start?! I'm doing a lot of stuff for Alleycat now, which features the Playboy Lingerie Model of the Year, Alley Baggett. I'm doing six covers, plus a 48 page fully-painted graphic novel for that. I'm doing covers for a lot of books, like First Wave and Battlestar Galactica. I'm doing a bunch of trading cards for sets like Witchblade and Lady Death. One of my own comics, Daria Jontak, comes out in October, and FANTASTIC VISIONS: The Art of Matt Busch comes out from Avatar Press in December!
This is probably where I should plug my web site, www.MattBusch.com!
Designed by Paul Michael Kane, it's got to be the most thorough, amazing
artist's site out there. It's loaded with galleries and cutting edge
features that you won't find anywhere else. Check it out!
Lastly, I have a free monthly email NEWSLETTER that I send out to anyone who wants it. It keeps folks up to date with all the comic book and movie projects I'm working on, as well as updates on the site. There are cool Contests, too, where you can win original art and other various prizes. If you want sign up for it, all you have to do is send an email to MBFVisions@aol.com, and type "Join Newsletter" in the subject header.
Thank you, Matt for taking the time talking to us.
I'd like to thank everyone for taking the time to read this! I'm excited to see this translated into German, and to know that folks are learning about my work on the other side of the world! I'm of German decent myself, so it's an honor to share my work with people that I feel a strong connection to! If you can speak English, feel free to drop me an email and say hi!
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