Monsters are usually those scary, hairy creatures we fear are hiding under our beds, but New York-based artist Matthew Langille, April’s “Breathe Easy” artist, begs to differ. His friendly and colorful monsters are playful-looking creatures and he has fun drawing them on just about anything — bathroom walls in Berlin (hunh?), disposable playhouses and now, on Crane’s drop shape humidifiers.
I asked Matthew to tell us about his love of monster images and why he likes to draw them so much.
Matthew: Monsters. Hmmm….not sure why I am drawn to them or if I even consider them to be ‘monsters’. The concept of the monster is such a fun concept which is open to constant interpretation. What is a monster really? There is no typical look or style which defines the monster concept so for me it’s really just the creation of a new character. A creature or thing. You see artists always introducing hybrids of things and that’s what gives us new characters like Dr. Suess’s Thing 1 and Thing 2, or Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice.
Elizabeth: Do you have any thoughts about one-of-a-kind objects like the one you’ve made for Crane? What makes this project stand out to you?
Matthew: Customization projects come my way a lot because as an artist/illustrator working in the product industry it’s a wonderful marketing tool for companies. It’s also a great way to promote emerging artists. When I made the image on the drop-shape humidifier I could see that the function of the humidifier itself, the way the mist covers over the design and the water line in the tank, added to the object’s whimsy. So for me, anything possessing the quality of whimsy is something I grab and hold onto. It’s what I love.
Elizabeth: I understand you do art projects for the Sharpie marker company, have you always been attracted to using markers as opposed to paint or other art media? What is it about Sharpie markers that you like so much?
Matthew: What I love about Sharpie markers is that when you draw with them, in the way I work, you can’t erase what you’ve drawn. That first movement of the marker on the surface can never be wiped away with an eraser. Or in the case of computer-generated artworks, with the click of a mouse. As a result you’re left with an image that shows the hand of the artist’s work with its gestural lines and imperfect details. This makes the drawings much more visually interesting, definitive and permanent.
Elizabeth: What are some Sharpie projects you’ve done that you thought were fun and creative?
Matthew: I did a project with Lava Lamp and Sharpie that was fun. It was also challenging because drawing on glass isn’t easy. Again, as with drawing on the drop-shape humidifier, the visual dynamic of having a clear object with things happening inside will make anything look interesting.
I also did a house from easyplayhouse, a creative and customizable playspace for kids. They sent me a house to customize which was fun.
Elizabeth: What did you think when Crane approached you to draw an image on one of their drop humidifiers?
Matthew: I thought, “Well damn. That’s something I’d do in a second.” Over the years of being in touch with the wonderful Katie (that’s the lovable Katie Sotor, V.P. of Marketing at Crane-USA), I have developed a true love for the Crane brand. I understand the health benefits that the Crane products provide. And to be able to draw on something not typically drawn on was of course a bonus.
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