Matthew Zaremba is a class act. When he is not grinding as the director of brand marketing for a fashion site, he is meticulously working as an artist. He shares his habit for ‘line art’ and graffiti on IG with process videos and end results. No tricks up his sleeve but hard work. Check out our interview about work ethic and keeping a fan base here…

all images courtesy of Matthew Zaremba
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There’s a movie now that is coming up based off one of your drawings. If there was a movie about your life, which actor would portray Matthew Zaremba?

 
I think I’d prefer it to be some sort of Pixar joint or something and I’d just do the voice. When Mad Men was on sometimes people would say I looked like Don Draper (Jon Hamm). That character was interesting to me and he nailed it. I feel like he would do a good job but he’s also like 12 years older so I don’t know if that’d work. Let’s just go with the animated version yeah?

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Who are some of your favorite historic artists?
 
I never really paid much attention to art growing up nor do I have any formal training. Which can be good and bad. Bad when it comes to answering a question like this. I have a massive respect for artists like Courbet, Picasso, Schiele, Klee, Flora, Rauschenberg, Basquiat,and Matisse. I also admire the work of more contemporary artists like my brother Nicholas Zaremba, Eddie Martinez, Cody Hudson, David Shrigley, my friend Pixote, my old roommate Kai Althoff, and all the creative people I have in my life. Fact is, there is an immense amount of talent in so many forms out there. It’s important that people put other people on to who or what inspires them.
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Line drawings translate pretty well to tattoos. Can you explain more about MZaremba Lifers and how it feels to have someone permanently put your work on their body?

 
It’s really interesting. These drawings began as a process to sort out my thoughts during a super hard time, and continue to be. Catharsis really. It’s really personal but you know, I’m putting it out there in the world for anyone to see and engage with. At first it was kind of weird to see people getting tattoos of things that meant so much to me. It was like they were missing the whole point or something. But I realized that was the worst way to look at it. Fact is, they had connected with my work and applied it to their own life and in turn breathed a whole new life into it. Over time I became grateful that my work could have an impact on people like that and honestly it’s a real honor.

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Your style has been pretty consistent over the years but it just seems that now everyone is hyped about your work or similar pen&ink work. How do you feel about that?

 
It comes down to substance. Substance over quality over quantity. You can train someone to do almost anything. I’m not concerned about things that LOOK similar. I’m interested in what art is SAYING. Certain trends (I won’t get into specifics here) will fade out and people will move on to appropriating other subcultures. People sometimes comment about my work being so “prolific” and ask how I come up with so much material. The truth is, my work is merely a fragment of what runs through my head and heart each and every day. There is noise, and if I’m able to capture a fleeting thought or feeling and get it down in a visual form, it helps me understand it and preserve it… Like a specimen in a bell jar. The very act of creating a piece is therapeutic and vital. This is my life. There is no gimmick.

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Killer Mike is your friend and has commented on your art via Instagram. When it comes to meeting celebrities, musicians, etc. is a handshake better than an autograph?

 
There are some cool people in my life some would consider famous or influential to a degree. These relationships aren’t built on some sort of superficial foundation. When open and creative minds connect, it’s a wrap. Game recognize game. Spend as much time as possible working on yourself, looking out for others, respecting others (including your differences), and working together. We’re all humans regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, religious/spiritual beliefs, or how many fans or followers you have. Experiences and human connection can’t be written with a sharpie or sold on eBay. A heartfelt handshake is priceless.

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Which sandwich best describes you?

 
A chicken salad wrap. Add lettuce and some hot sauce. Not the kind with grapes and walnuts. Nothing flashy. Nothing game changing. Consistently on point.

 

How does someone gain your respect?

 
Respect is something that has become more and more of a value or principle in my life over the years. It’s incredibly important. It’s really the answer to so many problems in the world. Look, in regards to art for sake of being relevant to this interview… You don’t have to necessarily love someone’s art to respect them as a talented and interesting artist if they’re keeping it honest. It might not be your thing but it has its place. Respect is all about how you project on other people. You’re doing you, they’re doing their own thing. If there’s respect, there’s room for everyone. That’s what it’s all about.

 

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‘Destiny is Wild’ Signet Ring Available through Digby and Iona

 

What are you currently listening to?

 
I’ve been digging through a lot of old rock and roll, blues, and folk vinyl lately and revisiting hip hop gems from the early 90s. Speaking of that, the Stretch & Bobbito documentary “Radio That Changed Lives” is a must-see. Other than that, I’m into stuff like Ta-Ku, Shigeto, Gallant, Tallest Man on Earth, Beach House, Wray, The National… I’m all over the place. I’ve also started making music again which feels great.

Follow Matthew Zaremba on IG here: