Matt Willis-Jones (b.1973) is a British creator based in Mexico City. A pioneer of digital painting in the 1990s, Matt went on to work in film and TV post-production for almost 20 years before returning to making art that can be hung on walls. He is fascinated with transexuals - not least because they are normal people - and feels that most art featuring trans people has an inherent shock value which he works hard to eradicate through technique:
'There are too many rhetorics today about what make us different. With my portraits of transexuals, I aim to speak to broad audience. Revealing what is under the surface of the everyday by integrating the unfamiliar with the familiar, I hope to allow those who might normally feel uncomfortable with the subject matter to engage with it and appreciate the beauty and dignity of my models.'
The works are a three stage process that start with photography, then digital layering and colour manipulation, and finally painting and collage on top of the digital print. In the finished piece it is often not possible to identify where one technique ends and the other begins - a blurring of definition which echoes Matt's philosophy regarding sexual identity. The pieces submitted here are taken from three different series:
'Roxy' is from a series inspired by 70s album covers. These are square format (90cm x 90cm). Multiple prints are made, and each is painted and collaged upon, creating unique pieces. Shown here is an intermediate stage, where textures have been digitally combined with the original photograph, prior to being printed up and painted upon.
'Colias Nastes' is one of a series of 16 smaller format portraits (approx. 45cm x 65cm). Displayed in floating frames, these are all named after butterflies.
The third, much larger piece, 'Superhero Triptych' (280cm x 150cm) is comprised of 3 panels (Stormy Weather, Cat Litter, and No Wonder), utilising a more energetic and celebratory use of paint and collage.