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Meet Simi Valley Concept Artist: Matthew Zikry

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Zikry.

Matthew, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
10 years ago I learned that you can professionally draw & paint for a living… the rest is history. I began my career working as a freelancer on small gigs here and there; magazine covers, art for online card games, a couple of tv shows as well as commercials & games. It all began with a passion for games and wanting to contribute to something that was a big part of my childhood. I began drawing just like many others out there, drawing stick figures. I never took drawing serious until my senior year of high school, when I was around 17 years old. After many years of practice & dedication, I can now finally add a little more detail to my stick figures. It all began with a passion and has now landed as a career.

Has it been a smooth road?
For me, this path has had no city counsel resurfacing the road. As a bit of a latecomer to the game, there have been many struggles along the path. On top of the difficulty of learning to draw & paint (sounds humorous, but this is way more difficult than Bob Ross makes it appear), the industry I was striving for was relatively new. There wasn’t much information out there on what to study, where to study, or even how to apply & become a Concept Artist. I can say that this was almost a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to hop off trail & create my own path. It caused me to seek information & knowledge rather than just sit back and have everything handed to me.

When you look back, can you point to a period when you wanted to quit or a period that was really frustrating?
I wouldn’t necessarily say there have been instances that drove me to want to quit, but there definitely have been difficult challenges I had to overcome. The constant reminder that I tell myself is that – I get to draw & paint for a living. Not many people today really say that they love their job. This is a difficult & demanding field, and I wouldn’t really say it’s for the hobbyist in my opinion. For the best results at someone looking to enter this industry, I feel they would need to give it their full devotion. I can’t speak for others, but for me – sacrifices had to be made. Once I began to take this more serious, I didn’t find myself going out as often as I used to. My sleep schedule also constantly changed while freelancing – sometimes to hit a deadline, others because of clients overseas that needed to set up meetings which the whole team could attend.

I lost a lot of hair while pursuing this dream, although I think that had to do a lot more with genetics than stress haha. But in the end, it was all worth it, and I would definitely do it all over again.

Let’s change gears – is there any advice you’d like to give?
I would say hang tight, keeping moving forward, don’t rush, & don’t skip the foundations! It can be a long or short journey all depending on how much time & effort you dedicate to your passion. The more you invest up front, the greater return you’ll have sooner – and I’m not talking about finances here. As artists, we don’t choose our careers based on the financial return, but rather the benefits we receive from creating our art.

Know that you will make it in the end as long as you keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, it doesn’t matter how many obstacles you face, but all that matters is that you’re doing exactly what it is you love!

What are you most excited about these days?
Learning & overcoming more challenges! Art, in general, is a never-ending field. There is no end goal to reach, but rather new uncharted territories to discover. There is always room for experimentation & growth, and I look forward to discovering them!

Contact Info:

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Image Credit:
Matthew Zikry

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