Here’s that joy of a page where I tell you all you could possibly want to know about me. Except that there’s not quite enough room here for all that. Not that I’m saying there’s that much to tell, but I’m saving all the really juicy funny bits for when I write my autobiography. So you’re going to have to settle for the short version.
I was born in 1971 to parents who, despite much head-scratching, hand-wringing and confusion, actually supported my talents. I was an odd child. In kindergarten I was prone to day-dreaming so deeply that I had to be shaken awake. I’ve always had an imagination that could, and did, carry me away at a moments notice.
Eventually, after years of rebelling, making mistakes and learning from both (click on FULL DISCLOSURE below to see more on that) I realized it was time to get serious about my gifts and go to art school.
I received my Bachelors Degree Magna Cum Laude in Fine Art from Maryland Institute College of Art in 1999 and loved every second of my education there. I majored in General Fine Arts so that I could split my focus between illustration and painting. At the time I was hoping to illustrate fantasy books and had no intention of doing art on a computer.
I studied under world renowned illustrator Julian Allen and my great mentor Susan Waters-Eller. I could never express how deeply they effected my life.
In my last semester at art school I figured I should know something about art on a computer and three weeks into my Intro to Photoshop class I abandoned painting and focused entirely on computer work. The way I work with layers on the computer is very similar to how I work in paint but doesn’t take months to complete a piece. The transition was liberating.
From 2000 to 2004 I was the Graphics Editor at The Reporter, a local daily newspaper in Lansdale, PA where I grew up. From 2004 to 2008 I was the Creative Director of PLAY magazine, a free weekly arts and entertainment magazine in New Haven, CT. Sadly the newspaper and magazine world is mostly gone online or gone altogether now but it was an amazing experience at both places.
PLAY magazine was a publication that my Editor Jonathan Cooper and I created from scratch with a very small team and that was a learning experience like you wouldn’t believe! I learned as much in those four years as I did the five years I was in college. But that industry was doomed and sadly that dream ended.
After that I dove into being freelance doing mostly commercial web design and programming but with a nice mix of other fascinating projects including acting which I never actually intended to do but thoroughly enjoyed. Even while laying on the frozen ground in the woods in the middle of the night so cold I couldn’t stop shaking watching the steam rise off the fake blood all over my face waiting for them to get the FUCKING LIGHTING RIGHT!!! I still loved every second of it and drove home with a smile on my face hidden under all the prosthetic gore. Huge thanks to everyone at Synthetic Cinema International.
Check out my Acting page for more on that.
Also about that time I discovered Second Life. In case your not familiar with it Second Life is a gigantic online world where people gather in virtual form to socialize and be creative. Its very much like a gaming environment but its not a game. There I go by the name Marcus Inkpen because you had to choose your last name from a list and I didn’t intend to turn it into a commercial thing or connect it to my real life artwork at all. But I took to it like a duck to water. It was playing with Lego bricks made into a virtual world where I could build anything I wanted and then walk around in it and share that with others. Eventually people there convinced me to sell my creations and that became my doorway to artistic freedom. For the first time in my life I could live off of my artwork alone. As a medium for creativity it should not be overlooked.
I’m less active in Second Life now because I don’t have enough extra time but still keep the brand I created and share with Sharni Azalee, The Looking Glass, and the sim where we regularly host live entertainment and provide a nice place for people to hang out and relax. And I will create more in Second Life. I’m not done with it yet. If you’re in Second Life feel free to visit our sim, Horizon Dream.
Along the way I was lucky enough to happen upon some wonderful projects. I did almost all of the visual effects in the Fuzz On The Lens film Abnormal Attractions which took nearly two years but was a joy and another incredible learning experience.
I also do projected animated sets for the Boheme Opera NJ yearly opera productions and will continue. I’ve been working with them since 2012 and they’ve become family. A job I look forward to.
In 2019 I started work on the project that incorporates everything I have learned and a ton that I have yet to learn- Surreal Orange. An ongoing animated surreal sci-fi art, music and cooking adventure series entirely of my own making. All of its art, music, characters, story, writing, models, sound effects, visual effects, editing and production are done by me.
At first the only things not done by me will be some of the voice work, but it definitely won’t stay that way. I’ve created an infinite world- There’s lots of room for more! As time goes on the show will hopefully grow into something I can share with many talented people.
I’m a good way down that twisting dangerous road of real life, and it seems the growth and learning both artistic and spiritual will never end, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I would like to thank all those special people in my life that have helped and inspired me over the years. To my family and oldest friends who were still there long after I wouldn’t have blamed them for giving up and walking away- Thanks so much. ((Giant loving hugs all around!))
And to my loving wife Alex- You are my everything!
Ok- it’s back to work for now,
Always me— Matt