We had the good fortune of connecting with Mattie McChesney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mattie, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
Even though I’ve just begun scratching the surface of the design industry, I think I still have some insight into what goes on behind the scenes that outsiders, and even my past self, wouldn’t be aware of. For starters, art and design can mean many things to each person. It’s naturally quite subjective and that can make everything both confusing and wonderful. The beauty, I think, is that everyone sees, interprets, and understands art differently because of the hundreds of variables that influence them. A person’s culture, family, friends, hobbies, religious beliefs, personality, experiences, and knowledge are just a few of those elements. It almost seems like a double-edged sword that cuts perfectly into the idea that you just can’t please everyone.
The simplest example of this is the art museum scenario where a plain white canvas has a single black dot painted in the center of it. Some people will view the piece with curiosity and develop a story or deep meaning behind it while others will think it doesn’t classify as art at all because it’s just a black dot. Maybe people are aware of this side of the industry. Maybe people aren’t aware that this side of the industry is a real challenge. Behind the black dot, there could have been an inspiration, an idea, a revision, another revision, a period of time, another revision, more inspiration, more ideas, another revision, and then finally, maybe, an end result. All of that leads up to a personal opinion. The process of design is often overlooked because as viewers, we only see the ending.
So, with that, I would encourage those that are outside of the industry to learn the behind-the-scenes journey. While it’s completely fine that art and design are subjective and it’s human to judge a final piece simply based on how you want to see it, the journey of how an artist gets there might be the piece of art that matters most.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is ultimately an extension of who I am. I always want what I create to represent myself accurately, so I take it seriously (Not too seriously, I can still have fun). Even though not everything I create needs a deep meaning or life-changing message, I still feel drawn to make art with that intent. I hope that whether it’s greeting cards, wall art, photos, or a painting, I inspire others to talk to a friend, travel somewhere new, or draw closer to Jesus.
I’m most excited about all the possibilities the design industry has to offer. Since I’m just starting out, there are so many different avenues I can go down. I feel like I’m at an in-between stage of going to school and figuring out what I want to do while still learning what I do and don’t like. Although it can be overwhelming, it’s fun to have that kind of freedom.
My journey professionally hasn’t been too long, so I can’t say there have been any real life-changing challenges. I think figuring out a balance between school, work, and social life is one aspect that has been more challenging. Avoiding burnout is not easy when I’m constantly working on various design projects that take a lot of time, energy, and thought. As for running a small business, that is an entirely other journey that takes more work than most people realize. There is so much learning, trial, error, and effort involved hidden behind what is produced.
As I further develop my brand, I hope the world can see that it is a work in progress that changes as I personally change. I just want to share what I create. If people like it, that’s great. If people don’t like it, that’s great too.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a non-Arizonian, I feel like I could actually use an itinerary for where to go. In my two short years here, though, I think the main spot I always tell people to visit is Sedona. There is nowhere else I’ve ever been that is like it. The red rock and wide-open skies feel like a real-life Cars Land. The scenery is so peaceful and really captures the beauty of Arizona. As for other local events in Phoenix, I think going to First Friday is a must. The art, people, and excitement is a lot of fun and reminds me of my very artsy city, Portland.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I think about the people in my life every day. How they’ve shaped me, how I’ve shaped them, how we’ve grown, how we’ve grown apart, how I treat them, how they treat me, how they’re doing, and what they’re doing. The people in our lives are so important. When I look at where I am today in terms of success, I would have to thank my dad, my mom, and an author.
My dad is the most encouraging and supportive person. He truly believes in all that I do or aspire to do and that completely changes how I make decisions for myself. Any type of idea or thought is taken seriously and often celebrated with a realistic yet hopeful attitude. I always have something to learn from him, even if it’s as simple as what a blue dot is on an old car. My dad is a dependable, trustworthy, and genuine friend that deserves so many thanks.
My mom is someone who has expanded my entire view of the world. She views people, cultures, and places with sincere interest and admiration. My love for travelling and experiencing new places is all thanks to her. I don’t feel that my art or success would have the passion behind it if she never inspired me to gain independence and see all the world has to offer.
Lastly, a book that radically changed my life was “God Has a Name” by John Mark Comer. To read and truly understand the love of Jesus is, to this day, the greatest gift.
(Only for personal photo) Raimee Miller