The Salty Slider
What do you know about the popular blog Salty Sliders? It’s themed with surfing images and original artwork from Mr Matthew Wigglesworth. I have always really enjoyed his blog, mostly because of the artwork. I bought one of his pictures recently, a nod to the great Bob Simmons, it prompted an exchange which grew into this rather interesting interview. Questions - Karl Mackie. Words & Pictures - Matthew Wigglesworth.
Who is Matt Wigglesworth?
In a nutshell, I’m a slider who would love to live a simple life. Like, living in a van with a few boards, eating fruit and napping in the shade on sunny afternoons would be my ideal. I love peace and quiet, I grew up surrounded by countryside and farms, and a quiet life. My wife and I have been blessed with four boys, so life is busy, crazy and fun and not really that quiet. However, I’m very happy and I love to create things with my hands, drawing is one of them. I love nature and being surrounded by it, especially the sea. So surfing and the ocean is a big part of who I am. Traveling stokes me and I do it as often as occasion arises.
How did you start making Art?
I have always loved art from as young as I can remember. I was never really a natural academic. I didn’t get on with it, I mean I have a degree and stuff but I don’t enjoy academics. I’ve done my share of trying to fit into what I thought the world expected of me. Doing meaningless work, running around focused on money above all to just get material things and status, but hated it. I worked in London as an Insurance underwriter for a while in the nineties, but kept getting reprimanded for having a beard and wearing cowboy boots to work. I didn’t fit in to that world.
Actually, I spent years trying to figure things out. I’d lay awake for hours just beating myself up about what I was meant to do with my life. You know, what is my purpose and how come I don’t feel like I’m reaching my potential? So for years I searched for what was already in me, I was just blinded by trying to do what I thought society expected. Suffocated by the 9 to 5 voices and corporate demands, haha.
So, one morning I awoke after having a really profound dream, it’s still really clear to me now. I dreamt I was looking at myself. I was standing at the end of an alley. I was holding a camera to my face. That’s it really. But when I awoke, it was like a light went on inside me. I can do creative things. I started snapping pics and selling them. Korduroy.TV featured me back in their real early days, which gave me confidence. I was stoked. That all led to my whole creative side coming alive.
So from photography I started drawing again and then said to myself, ‘hey Matt, welcome back buddy, where you been all this time?’ My wife has always encouraged me and that’s helped so much too.
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
My little sister is so inspirational to me. Our older brother drowned years ago so we kind of have a real special relationship. She is always so positive and supportive to me and that really helps. I also purposefully daydream a lot or meditate as some call it. I find myself thinking about things and I get an idea and start drawing it. Music inspires me too. I listen to a variety of funky stuff, Alphaville, Mattson 2, The Growlers, Grant Green, Tommy Guerrero, Blacktop Project, Rodriguez, Neil Halstead and loads more.! !
I love nature and being in the sea. I find it just chills me and replenishes me. A lot of my art is based around the kind of surfing and lifestyle ideas I love. Thats why I started my blog, I’ll go through hundreds of images until I find one that I like. I just put all the stuff that inspires me on there and it’s like my little chest of treasures.
What’s your favourite illustration that you have drawn?
That’s tough. I really don’t know. Each one that comes out I enjoy. Any piece that has a simmons board in it. I love those things, although I’m starting to be swayed to single fins more and more now, so maybe any pic with a single fin in too. I like drawing them.
The originality in each piece of your work evokes wonderful nostalgia which is why I was surprised to hear you create on an iPad. How did this digital approach happen?
Well cheers. I still draw with pen and paper and stuff. I love drawing with pens but I’m also a perfectionist and sometimes impatient. So the whole process on paper can be frustrating for me. I can change my mind on colours and shapes for example, once it’s on paper it’s done and then sometimes I’ll look at what I’ve done and I don’t like it. Whereas on the iPad I can change the colours and style and shape etc whenever or as much as I want. Although I try not to mess too much!
My dad was a printer by trade and I did a lot of work for him back in the day. So I’ve been around graphics and the print shop a fair bit. I also work as a graphic designer and use a mac and other apple products for that, the iPad being one of them. I started sketching around on it for fun a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I have a great relationship with my iPad now. There are a few amazing apps I use and have my work flow down. I can carry it anywhere and use it anytime.
I’m a minimalist by heart, so keeping everything in one place suits me. And I can make my art look the way I like it to. It works for me.
Whats the best part of your job and what the worst part?
Sometimes I just draw all day, I love that, and my wife is very understanding and supportive. But I’m like ‘whoa, it’s 6pm already and I’ve been drawing all day.’ Having time and opportunity to be creative is great. I can take a break and go for a walk in the woods at the back of my house or go and slide around in the sea for a bit and then get back to it. Make a green smoothie or just listen to some music. I love watching my finger draw and see all the lines connect, its freaking weird but I just love it. So the best thing is just having creative freedom with supportive family and friends in tow and knowing that it’s the real me. That, and when someone buys a piece of art, I’m like running around super stoked that someone likes my vibe.
Obviously it’s not all sunshine and waves. Life can be hard, but I try to not focus on the negative. I guess with art you are putting yourself out there to be judged. So that always makes me feel nervous. I’ve also got to support my family, so doing what I do has its challenges sometimes because I’ve still got to pay the bills.
Do you have any side projects you work on?
I’ve got my salty sliders online shop, so as it develops I want to get more into clothing design and I want to learn how to shape boards too. A great friend of mine has the most amazing woodwork studio. So when I get time I go round and we just make random stuff together. We dabble with making hand planes too just for fun. So nothing serious coming yet. I’d love to make some furniture as well sometime.
I’m also working on a storybook about a boy who wants to surf. He eventually shapes his own board and gets radical. It’s all about his journey. Hopefully it will turn into a series of stories. It’s been in the works for a while now.
Surfing and boards come across as a strong inspiration in your work. Tell us about your ongoing love affair with twin fins.
About 10yrs or more ago now I was surfing in South Wales with my sister. We were getting changed after a nice mellow session, our cherished logs on the car park ground next to us. We watched in horror as this little old lady drove over both of them in her car. It was really funny though because she was totally unaware. I got it fixed but it never rode the same after that! So I found myself wanting a new board and was interested in going smaller. I had surfed a few thrusters and hated them. Just so much work in the UK and the whole style just didn’t fit with me.
I was always interested in the kind of retro and eclectic sub culture of surfing, and found myself becoming more and more distanced from the mainstream fairground! I spent some time in Oz and bought a 6’4″ single fin. I had such a great time on that. I remember surfing Noosa. It was about 6am, raining but warm. Amazingly only a few out. The swell just picked up like almost instantly. I was sliding around on waves for so long my legs were shaky. The single fin was fun but twitchy. So I bought a twin and just had more fun than ever and slid around on it the rest of the time. That, and a short time later I was at a friends house in San Clemente, California. His friend shaped boards for him so he had this extensive quiver to choose from. I dug around until I found a twin and rode the hell out of it. Cali is fun to surf and has a great vibe that I just loved! So, that whole vibe and that I just loved the looseness of a twin, I became hooked. Back in the UK, I immediately bought a twin Fish. It was great because people here weren’t really riding those things much then and I was getting looks like I was a kook. But I was having so much fun I didn’t care. Basically changed my life. On a clean 4-5ft peeler the thing comes alive. The speed is amazing and I just love the lines you can draw with it. They suit my style and I feel right at home with them.
Whats next for you Matt?
I have an online shop where I’m selling clothing and stuff. So I want to keep going with that. I want to travel more and do some festivals and shows, that would be great. I have some collaborations I’m working on too which is exciting for me. My sister Leila (she’s super talented), makes lampshades too, so I’m working with her on some custom shades with my art, which should be fun.
Find out more about Matthew’s work here - saltysliders.com
Catch him on twitter/Insta here - @saltysliders