Above the Fold interviewed Fine Artist and Photographer, Matthew Thompson, ahead of our inaugural creative conference held in Galway City in May 2016.
Can you describe your creative practice in a few words?
I work as a fine artist and freelance commercial photographer.
How did you enter into a career in photography?
It came from working in graphic design and with time then wanting to communicate with in a more personal voice… not to mention get out away from working behind a screen.
Are you working on any project of interest at the moment?
There are always a few pots on the stove, I have recently been collaborating with the activist and artist Maria Hinds in New Orleans about the civil rights leader Herman Wallace who spent 42 year solitary confinement. It’s a difficult topic but something necessary for discussion.
Is there a particular project you have enjoyed working on the most?
Each job contains a certain amount of pressure which soon morphs into excitement, veering from “absolute failure” to “that’s kind of interesting”.
One aspect of Above the Fold that we’re attempting to convey is that Ireland is buzzing with creativity. How has your work impacted upon Ireland’s cultural landscape?
I have had the privilege to collaborate with some of Ireland’s leading creatives, especially in the fields of performance, including Garry Hynes, aforementioned Fearghus Ó Conchúir, Dublin Theatre Festival and many musicians. Its a privilege to help visually articulate someone else’s passion.
Do you feel it’s important to boost awareness for the arts outside of the capital city?
I think good work inherently creates its own buzz but the nature of any city is that it is self sufficient, those beyond its reach probably do need to shout louder to be heard above the din.
What advice would you give to someone starting off in this industry?
A good collaboration distances you from your own ego which can only be a good thing.
What Irish artist or creative do you think people should know about?
I think Ireland has an amazingly healthy Fine Art Photo Scene ( I would say that) : To mention a few would be Yvette Monahan, Aisling McCoy, Jill Quigley, Kate Nolan, Miriam O’Connor, Kenneth O’Halloran, Noel Bowler, Shane Lynam… the list goes on.
If we are sitting here a year from now celebrating what a good year it’s been for you in this role, what did you achieve?
A year of adventure and creative risks… to define where they may lie might reduce where I can find them.
What do you hope members of the audience will take away from your talk at Above The Fold?
A sense that their own voice is valuable and to try consciously enjoy every part of the process.