If you’re a fan of Cloudberries puzzles (well, you’re here, after all!), you might have found yourself wondering how we come up with such colourful, creative and sometimes challenging images. Well sometimes we get help from truly gifted artists whose work we love.
One of these talented folks is London-based illustrator Matt Lyon, who designed our 1000-piece Symmetry puzzle. We spoke to him about his inspiration, his proudest moment (featuring Lady Gaga) and, of course, puzzles.
You create amazingly detailed patterns and seem to be able to pair colours effortlessly. Is making a Matt Lyon artwork harder than it looks?
All artists I know have their special moves and weak points, and over time focus on developing their strengths whilst navigating things they’re not so comfortable with. We all build upon things we most love, so for me, that’s doodling and playing with colour. Even so, it can take me a long time to decide upon a palette because I often want to use them all!
What kinds of things inspire your art? Are there places, people or things that get your creativity going?
So many things! I’m a big fan of folk art, especially East European, late ‘60s and early ‘70s design, and visual art in general. I listen to a lot of electronic music, which inspires the process of abstract imagery, especially in terms of repetition, patterning, layering, sequencing, etc.
Walking is the best tonic to clear my head, and living in London is great to get lost in and discover new places. And London’s galleries and museums are the best for recharging my creative batteries, especially The British Museum, which is my favourite hangout.
Describe your perfect day.
Time spent with family or friends. I don’t often get out of the city, so a visit to the coast is always a treat. I love seaside resorts with piers, promenades and penny arcades. It evokes the nostalgia of childhood holidays, from the smell of fish ’n’ chips to the sound of the sea.
How long does it take to create a really detailed piece like this one? (above)
This is a detail of a much larger design, so as you can imagine it took quite a while. I’m never sure how long my personal work takes because I’ll always have a good number of designs on the go and return to them on a rota. Stages include the initial drawing, line work in Adobe Illustrator, colouring in, and adjustments and edits in Photoshop. Once complete, I often wait to share a piece for at least a couple of months so that I can return to it with fresh eyes to see if it still looks okay.
Which piece of art or project are you most proud of? Do you do any other arty stuff away from the computer screen?
I guess my biggest scoop was having Lady Gaga hold a ghetto blaster I designed for Tommy Hilfiger’s Tommyland fashion show. As for other creative stuff, I’m a daily sketchbook doodler and I make a super tasty banana loaf.
Some of your designs are wonderfully fresh and psychedelic. What made you want to work with a bunch of puzzle nerds like Cloudberries?
Some of my designs have been described as visual puzzles, so we’re clearly a perfect fit! Also, my mum’s a keen jigsaw fan and she’s looking forward to tackling this one.
What’s the biggest jigsaw puzzle you’ve ever completed? Be honest!
I’m really slow at jigsaws, though I kind of enjoy zoning out when staring at the pieces trying to find the right fit. I think my biggest is 500 pieces!
Finally, what’s next? Do you have any fun projects or collaborations in the pipeline?
I’ve got a fun project *potentially* lined up over the coming months, though I can’t say any more about it in case it falls through. Aside from that, I’m about to start a collaboration with a friend of mine in the US. I’ve just received a handful of his work and over the next few weeks I’ll be adding to and developing. Aside from that, this year I really want to make a ‘zine, and finally, learn how to crochet granny squares for a psychedelic blanket.
Want to learn more about Matt Lyon and his awesome art? Visit his website: c8six.com or follow him on Instagram. Our Symmetry puzzle is available to buy here.