Matt Murphy brought his customary warmth and good conversation as he called in to see us and record podcast EP19. We discussed colour theory, great music and dream commissions past and (hopefully) future. You can listen now on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and most other podcast providers.
In addition to the podcast, Matt also answered a short bonus Q&A to reveal more about his work for Adele, particularly the 23 tour posters he created for her residency in Las Vegas. Read on to find out where Someone like Him seeks inspiration and motivation...
This was your second time working on posters for Adele, you must be best mates by now?
Sadly not although we’ve worked together on the two campaigns I’ve not managed to speak to her directly, I am really impressed with her level of involvement in the campaigns though, she signs off every poster and in the more recent Las Vegas campaign was giving me direct feedback via September. Who knows maybe we’ll meet for a pint one day in Tottenham?
It must have been challenging to mix up the designs for each show given they were all in one location this time?
It was. I think the biggest challenge came when we decided to change the direction of the illustrations. Originally they would all just show areas of architecture around Caesars Palace but then we decided to start showing parts of the show itself from inside the venue, I think this was on the back of the success of the NYE poster which is still one of my favourites. Once we had the various stages of the live show that we wanted to represent it became much easier.
Were you given a sneak peek of the stage design or did you have to get creative?
No. By the time we started the interior illustrations the show had done three weekends so I was able to use reference photos and press shots that September sent me. In a way the lack of reference did allow me to be more creative with the posters and the ones that are more graphic and stripped back are definitely as a result of a lack of reference, and also my favourites.
I look at the work of Artists a lot, Edward Hopper is a great help not just compositionally but also his use of colour and light.
There's a developing grandeur with each new date. Did you have a big picture view of how they would evolve?
I think that’s very much led by the show. The show definitely heads towards the climatic ending of the final song and so I just followed that flow. For me the songs are what leads the poster maybe more than the sets I tried to capture the power of ‘Set Fire to the Rain' within the illustration and show the Beauty and calmness of ‘Love is a Game’ the wonderful messages I received from the fans during the commission makes me think I got the feeling right.
Matt Murphy speaks on the Handsome Frank illustration podcast EP19
Dynamic compositions are a bit of a trademark, where do you seek inspiration?
I try not to allow myself to just draw a simple composition so I generally start off with pretty straight forward compositions and think how can I flip this and make it more engaging and dynamic. I look at the work of Artists a lot, Edward Hopper is a great help not just compositionally but also his use of colour and light. Photography plays a massive role in my work also from my education and concentrating so much on composing the perfect moment to looking back at the work of people like Nick Knight and Sarah Moon who both really pushed the boundaries in terms of composing an image.
If you could work with another musician on their next big tour, who would that be?
There are so many!!! I’d love to be able to say I’ve created a poster for Joni Mitchell, I listen to her music a lot when working so that would be amazing, I think she may do a small tour soon so if she’s reading this!! Radiohead would be a dream come true as would Massive Attack but also I'd really love to get a chance to work on posters for some of the new Jazz musicians like Alabaster Deplume, Tom Skinner or Melanie De Biassio. Oh man the list is endless.