We had the good fortune of connecting with Autumn Matney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Autumn, is there something you believe many others might not?
“If you want to be a (fill in the blank), you need to go to school for it!” Apparently I like to let experience be my teacher. I did not go to school for design or for lettering, but here I am. I actually went to school for oil painting, thinking that my life and career would have me sitting alone in a charming studio painting portraits all day. It wasn’t until my junior year in college that I realized that I wanted to be a designer/sign painter. I felt like an imposter for a long time, not having the credentials of a degree in graphic design to waive at my clients. I am now learning that hard work, experience and persistence can be a very good teacher. I have now been working as a freelance artist for nine years, and I can confidently call myself a graphic designer and a sign painter. They say it takes ten thousand hours to become an expert at something. If that’s the case, then I am an expert a couple of times over!Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a freelance graphic designer and sign painter, and my absolute favorite thing to do is to utilize lettering/layout/colors, etc to convey a message or vibe. I do a lot of seasonal window displays for various companies and homes, which is a really fun way to explore creatively and allow my art to reflect the current moment. Recently I’ve been really interested in painting directly on walls, whether that’s a large wall mural or a small directional sign painted on a building. There is something so integrated and permanent about paint going directly on a surface… it becomes part of the fiber of the space instead of being a decoration added to it after the fact. I’ve been working as a freelance artist for the last nine years, and I’m constantly growing and honing my skills. I am interested in all kinds of projects, and so my work can seem a little random: one day I’m addressing envelopes with a calligraphy pen, and the next I’m painting an 18-foot mural on a wall. I simply cannot say no to projects that excite me, whatever that may be! I’ve certainly had my challenges over the years: learning how to price my work, learning how to say no to projects that don’t interest me or that I’m not right for, learning how to communicate with clients effectively so they get what they need. I’ve had so many wonderful clients over the years that have allowed me to learn as I brought their ideas to life. One of the lessons I’ve learned along the way is to under-promise and over-deliver. Or, put another way, to go above and beyond to wow my clients. It is amazing to be able to give them my best so they are blessed from it.Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love this city so much. Phoenix and Tempe have become my home over the last twelve years, and I would have such a fun time showing out of town friends around the city. Some of my favorite food spots include Liberty Market in downtown Gilbert, Jewel’s Cafe (40th St & Thomas) which serves the BEST gluten free food, The Original Chop Shop, and Zinburger at Scottsdale Quarter. I love hiking at South Mountain, Piestewa Peak, or for an easier walk/hike, Papago Park. My children love the Phoenix Zoo, and it has become one of our favorite places to go.The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Just one of the many people in my life that deserves a shoutout, is the lovely and talented Stephanie Henderson. Steph and I came together as two doe-eyed young gals who had a dream to start a custom design studio, and over the course of four years, we built our company. It was through Stephanie’s partnership and friendship that I learned much of what I know know as a designer. She exudes beauty through everything she does: from the simplest thing like the decorations on her mantle, to a complex and expertly designed book layout. Stephanie, you are a gem, and knowing you has made me a better designer and a better human!