Interview with Matt Richie

© Chloe Rice 

© Chloe Rice 


Matt Ritchie, also known as Matt136, is an American artist, illustrator and craftsman, known for his wood-cut miniatures. Since his early childhood years, Matt Ritchie has been drawing and creating all sorts of things, inspired mostly by sci-fi culture. He was fascinated with Star Wars series, Battlestar Galactica, Dungeons and Dragons and popular comic books, video games and cartoons. With no laser cutters involved, Matt hand carves, cuts and paints miniature wooden sculptures, depicting wide range of characters, from both his own imagination and different sub-cultures. His tiny flat paintings, no larger than the top digit of a finger, are placed on custom-shaped panels which are methodically organized, and grouped by size and color. Matt never has a lack of ideas – his signature small hand-cut wood pieces are shaped in an eclectic array of creatures and characters, from famous guitars to rats and cats. (Widewalls)

Hey Matt, today you will talk with MoW about six of your artworks that were inspired by music. 

Can you start by telling MoW why you chose to create artworks inspired by music?

I’ve been a huge music fan since I was very young. Over the years I’ve amassed a massive music collection. My collection has so many kinds of music that spans from jazz to folk to hip-hop to West African. I listen to music every day. Naturally, music and musicians are a big creative influence on my visual arts.

Would you say there is a specific music that inspired your artworks?

I guess it is whatever inspires me at the moment. Though, I would say that jazz, Tom Waits, Frank Zappa, and guitars get the most attention from me artistically.

Can you tell MoW the story behind each artwork? 

7 foot guitar

This big guitar was the centerpiece for a solo show that I had at Spoke Art in San Francisco a couple years ago. It’s a seven foot guitar with a hollowed out rectangle in the body that has 100 one inch guitars mounted inside. Each guitar or bass guitar belongs to a specific player. For example there are guitars from Frank Zappa, Paco de Lucia, George Benson, Andres Segovia, Willie Nelson, Kurt Cobain, etc. etc. I wanted to celebrate the specific personality of these instruments that represent the amazing creative artists that play them. Almost like a symbol of the player themselves. This piece took over 700 hours to complete. It’s one of the biggest works I’ve ever done of any subject. These pieces are acrylic paint on hand cut wood.





These are a bunch of the one inch guitars spread out before they were mounted and put into the large guitar frame. This pic (left : close up pic of all the guitar) shows the specific details that define the individual guitar. I enjoy the aesthetic look of all these guitars in this chaotic spread. These pieces are acrylic paint on hand cut wood.






Daft Punk! Paint on cut wood.




These little guys are part of an ongoing pop art series that I’m working on for an upcoming show. The whole series are pop icons in a “slump” position. I’m including musicians as well as movie characters, cartoon characters, and anyone considered “pop culture”. The repetitive posture represents the exhaustive over saturation of any entity that enters the pop culture narrative. Daft Punk are certainly pop icons! These pieces are acrylic paint on hand cut wood.







Angelo Moore from Fishbone





I love Fishbone!! Fishbone is one of the most important, influential, and relevant of all modern bands. Anyone who knows anything about modern music knows how far reaching the impact of Fishbone has been the last 30 years. Angelo Moore is the lead singer and sax player. He’s a super dynamic front man with awesome style. I’ve painted other members of this band too. This piece is acrylic paint on hand cut wood.






Thelonius Monk 2x2 inch blue ball point pen drawing. Done in 2005





Thelonius Monk is one of my favorite player/composers ever. He’s a genius who has captured my imagination since I was in high school. This is a tiny blue ball point pen drawing that I drew from a photo I saw years ago. This was just a little warm up exercise. 





David Bowie/ Seu Jorge 






Wes Anderson, David Bowie, Seu Jorge, and A Life Aquatic are a perfect combination to me. This piece was based on a character in the Wes Anderson film, A Life Aquatic. Sue Jorge plays a member of a sea faring exploration team who is always playing David Bowie songs on his acoustic guitar while singing the lyrics in Portuguese. It’s really a collection of beautiful Bowie covers. There is an album of the songs from the movie available.








Do you have a favorite piece between the ones presented today? 

Yes. It’s the giant guitar piece. Something that labor intensive and time consuming is a passion project. I also got personally in touch with a lot of the guitarists featured in the piece. I would email the musicians when I wanted to know which of their many guitars were most important to them. I would explain what the project was and why I wanted the reference. It was awesome that everyone that I inquired about answered back.   

Is there any other specific word you’d like to say about the artworks presented today? 

Not much more than I’ve already said. I will mention that these are just a few pieces of many that center on music or musicians that I’ve created in the last 30 years. 

Do you have plans on creating new artworks inspired by music/musicians ?

Absolutely! I don’t have any specific plans right now, but I know that I will definitely want to work with music as a theme in future projects.  

Can you tell Mow more about your techniques and how long does it takes you to make an artwork?

I work in many different mediums. I am mostly known for my ball point pen drawings and cut and painted wood pieces though. My pieces can take from a few hours to nearly a thousand hours to create. 

Why is music important to you, in your life and in your art? 

Music is a part of my every day life. It is something that I engage with every day at some point like food, water or sleep. It will always be one of the great pleasures in my life.

Do you listen to music when you're working? What is the kind of music you would listen to?

Yes. All kinds.

What is the song you liked the most lately? 

My song of the last few days is “Get Low” by James Vincent McMorrow

What album(s) ? 

My favorite albums of the last week or so are a toss up between Run The Jewels “RTJ3” and Kate Bush’s live album “Before The Dawn”.

What was the last gig you went to? 

The last show I really remember loving was the Foals.

Are you a musician?

No, but I recently received a bass guitar as a gift from Mike Dirnt (Green Day), so I’ve been messing around on it. It’s been fun. I could use some lessons though...