Matt Verges: The Wolf is Loose

His work is detailed yet clean and his visions seem straight out of old horror comics. Matt Verges has found the perfect blend between the old Creepy or Eerie style with modern color schemes. He is based out of Denver and he has done artwork for both clothing labels and metal bands.

How did you get your first paying art job?
I was visiting my friends Jose and Aaron from Uzi Suicide, and they were about to put out their sophomore ep, “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. The original artist dropped out at the last minute, and I basically begged them to let me do it. They agreed and I drew it up over the next few days. That was almost 10 years ago, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Have you always worked in your current style and if not how did you work before?
I used to do a comic book called “Table 9 From Outer Space”, so I used to have a much more cartoony, graffittiesqe style. I also used to do tattoos, so a lot of my work would have that style as well. I think the thing that has most translated over from my past styles has been the sculpted, obsessive linework.

Who are your artistic influences?
My biggest artistic influences are actually not artists themselves. The writings and documentaries of Carl Sagan and David Attenborough are what influence most of my work. Artistically, I draw a lot of inspiration from Alphonse Mucha, Alchbert Drurer, John James Audubon and Pushead. Some other artists I admire and collect are Aaron Horkey, John Dyer Baizley, Arik Roper, Florian Bertmer, Becky Cloonan, Josh Keyes, David D’Andrea, Jeremy Hush, and Eyeball Begley.

Tell us about your studio space?
I work in a collectively owned printshop in Denver, Colorado. Most of our work is for local businesses, non-profits and unions, and I handle all of the graphic design and digital printing. Since we’re collectively owned, this allows me time to do my own freelance illustration work, between print jobs.

Take us through a typical day?
Wake up, feed the kitties, drink some coffee, eat some cereal, check my email and read up on the latest screenprinted posters, see what sort of print work I got for the day, print design, print, draw, print, wait for the mail to show up, visit the ladyfriend, eat some pizza, drink some beer, watch x-files, fall asleep, and do it all over again.

How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
Usually, due to my freelance schedule, I’ll sit on a concept for months, or even years before I get around to actually execute it. This allows me time to stumble across any reference I might want to use, and mentally assemble the entire piece. Once im actually drawing, I don’t really work in any standard order. I find myself getting quickly bored with sketching so I might be coloring one element before I finish roughing out another. Eventually everything is sketched, inked, colored, shaded, highlighted, textured and color tweaked.

What materials do you use? How much if any is done on the computer?
These days everything is done on the computer, using a tablet and photoshop and illustrator. I struggle with giving up the pen and paper, so I still try to do more hands on art as well. I still sculpt, paint and screen print, but I tend not to show that stuff off as much.

Do you use reference materials or does all of it come from your head?
I think the best work comes from both! I have a huge collection of animal skulls, and reference books that I use on a regular basis. My goal is to highlight the surrealism in the natural world by adding in psychedelic and art nouveau elements that come straight out of my own mental wanderings.

Do the bands give you any direction?
A couple times, a client has nearly written an epic novel’s worth of art direction for me, then gives me the album to listen to and tells me that they trust me to illustrate the world they’ve created. That sort of situation really works well for me. Though I also seem to do well with rehashing ballpoint pen sketches on bar napkins.

Do you have an advice for artist’s who wish to do artwork for bands?
Don’t sell yourself short! Your time is important, and you deserve to be paid well for it. Draw every day, and don’t hesitate to ask your heroes what they think about your work.

What are you currently working on?
A concept album cover for 80’s post apocalypse punk band The Fate, a Jaws screen printed movie poster, and all the printed materials for my wedding!

Do you have any dream projects?
I wanna design a skate deck, and beer label! Someday I’m going to design, illustrate, and print an edition of Moby Dick.

What are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?
Baroness, Mastodon, Agalloch, Hammers of Misfortune, Torche, Bison B.C., Pelican


About Vertebrae33

Through hard work and dedication, Vertebrae33 has established himself as one of the most prolific and exciting illustrators on the scene today.  He has received much acclaim as of late for his innovative designs, attention to detail, and wholly unique, raw style.