Matt Tkocz was born and raised in Poland and Germany respectively, before moving to California to study entertainment design at Art Center College of Design in 2008. After graduating in 2012, he became “another Hollywood phony in the entertainment industry”, working on projects including Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Hot Wheels, The Last Witch Hunter, Lore, Need For Speed and for Treyarch on an unannounced Call of Duty project. Formerly an instructor at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, he now teaches at CGMA. We caught up with Matt to discuss his lovingly detailed art, and hear a few jokes: another Tkocz speciality.
Tell us about your journey
The reason I got into art was that I sucked at everything else I ever attempted: hopeless athlete, lousy musician. Academia? Forget about it. So it was either art or selling my body for drugs in the streets (arguably the ultimate art form?).
I initially went for a career in graphic design because having grown up in Germany I viewed concept art as merely a pipe dream and thought I should settle for a ‘real job’. But soon I grew tired with that and for a minute considered studying industrial design, since that was the closest thing to a concept art education available in the area.
Eventually my impatience got the best of me and I packed up my stuff to study Entertainment Design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California – which turned out to be the best career decision I’ve ever made.
How do you want to impact the world?
Other than curing cancer one pretty drawing at a time, I would love to expand my range and level of responsibility within the projects I work on; as relaxing as it can be to just go on auto-pilot and follow someone else’s direction, it can be equally frustrating if you have to answer to individuals utterly unburdened by any kind of talent.
Like most people, I’m working towards running the show at some point down the line, so I can hopefully (for better or worse) call the shots beyond just art direction.
What are you passionate about?
Ultimately, what gets me off more than anything is the ability to make cool shit – whatever it may be. I’m into all sorts of creative disciplines and I’d love to get a chance to dabble in as many of them as possible. As much fun as art and design can be, it is only one facet of the bigger picture.
What would be your #1 advice to other artists?
Put in the hours, challenge yourself, and relax about it for Christ’s sake – it’s concept art, not brain surgery.