EK Interview: Matt Wisniewski

Matt Wisniewski is a web developer who creates incredible digital collages using found photographs. Surreal and visually mesmerizing, we can’t get enough of his artwork – read on for a more about Matt’s experimental approach …

Art Blog - Matt Wisniewski - Empty Kingdom

So tell us, who are you and what do you do?

I am a web developer and collage artist. I make stuff on the Internet do things and sometimes I use some of that stuff to make new things.

How would you describe yourself? Do you consider yourself to be an artist? What do you consider it is to be an artist – and does this distinction have any significance on one’s work?

I’m probably not qualified to answer that first question. I suppose. I’m certainly an artist by definition of the word, but then you have people who would argue art has to have a certain standard of quality. Some of those people can easily justify to themselves that what I do should not be considered art. I’m not interested. I create something because I enjoy it.

Art Blog - Matt Wisniewski - Empty Kingdom

How did you come to be doing what you do?

I’ve been experimenting with Photoshop for years. At some I point I looked at all the images I had collected on Tumblr and thought I should use them for something, so I did.

Who do you create for?

Myself. It’s certainly not paying any bills so if I don’t enjoy it I don’t really see any other reason. I also put just about everything I make on the Internet even if it’s rubbish just in case someone can get some enjoyment out of it.

Are there any artists that you admire, or whose work you have been inspired by? What do you look for in a piece of art – what is that element that draws you in?

Art Blog - Matt Wisniewski - Empty Kingdom

My collage directly uses the work of others, just about all of which I’m inspired by. The fun thing about “that element that draws you in” is that there isn’t one. If there was, my tastes in just about everything would be rather boring. Generally I just look for a certain sense of quality and anything else is just what happens to appeal to me at the time.

How does it work – where does your inspiration come from? Does the conception come first or does the piece evolve naturally – do you have a clear idea of what it will be before you start to make it?

My inspiration comes from all over. I’m constantly looking for something new. Sometimes I’ll have an idea and if I do I usually know exactly where to go. A lot of times though I’ll just be experimenting and looking for something I like.

Art Blog - Matt Wisniewski - Empty Kingdom

Where do you source your images from? Do you have an image bank? How do you match them? Is there a method or is it instinct? Do you use similar ones repeatedly, or make multiple pieces before you achieve the effect you want? How do you know the perfect combination when you see them separately?

Anywhere I can find them. I do have an image bank. It’s sort of organized but there’s a mounting in pile that isn’t. I match them through experimentation. I pick images that I want to work with or that I think would work well together and try combinations until I get something I’m happy with. I try not to use a visible part of an image more than once (I will use multiple sections of one image in different collages) but there are exceptions, usually when I’m not happy with the results. I don’t know the perfect combination. The best I can do is use my knowledge about what works well and what doesn’t to help speed up the process a bit.

Art Blog - Matt Wisniewski - Empty Kingdom

How would you describe your approach?

There’s a lot of initial quick experimentation. Even if I know what I’m trying to do I have to play around a bit to get an idea of what images I want to use and where I want to put them. Once I’ve settled on something it’s just a matter of cleaning it up.

Do you every use your own images in your collages? Have you ever worked with other mediums, or considered branching out into new ones – video for example?

On occasion. I’ve experimented with most of the other common fine arts and some others. I have and I did.

Art Blog - Matt Wisniewski - Empty Kingdom

Why collage-based work exactly? What was it about it that spoke to you, or how did you fall into it?

It lets me use work that inspires me directly and I like the idea of taking something already impressive on its own and using it to create something new.

What do you perceive as the future of this realm of art?

Well I can’t tell you specifically what the future holds but I imagine it will be exciting to see.

So, what’s next – any shows you’d like to plug, or magnificent plans for world domination? What should be expect to see from you in the future?

I’m still working that out. There are some things happening eventually but I’m always reluctant to talk about those just because a lot of them tend not to work out. Hopefully I’ll have something neat I can show soon!

Art Blog - Matt Wisniewski - Empty Kingdom