Scottish hip-hop pioneers Stanley Odd have recently been recently new work from a new album. One of these tracks is FUWSH (produced by Dunt) which is a punchy, whip-smart story of fearless individuality from the Edinburgh six-piece but the artist behind the artwork is the one who caught our attention with this track. Matt Sloe, who created this grainy old school art behind the single release spoke with The Fountain about how this came about and his processes.

TF: You had been working on the artwork for the new Stanley Odd releases, how did that come about?

Through the joys of Instagram. The band had put out a post looking for an artist to work with, and some very kind soul tagged me in it. When I saw it, I was keen to see if I could help out. I’ve seen them perform a few times now, once out at Kelburn garden party where I have a vague memory of sitting chatting nonsense with Dave, from the band, around a campfire. That was a long time ago now.

TF: What is your background in illustration?

Where to start. I am currently employed as a Storyboard artist in a Games company here in Edinburgh. I love how much creative freedom I have here, obviously I can’t say much about it atm.

I also share a studio space with a few other artist friends in Custom House, down by the Leith shore. I work with wood and acrylics and do cut wood characters, as well as numerous other materials and mediums. I love drawing characters and faces. I spend most of my free time drawing in sketchbooks. I have recently been trying to focus more of my time on relearning anatomy and life drawing, I am a firm believer that the study of the human figure and observational drawing is a key practice for illustrators. I also work digitally as well, working mainly in Photoshop.

TF: What was your inspiration for the work, was it purely from the song, or are there other influences at play?

Before I started the commission, I had gotten back into drawing portraits again, just for my own personal practice. So, when I spoke to the band, I put forward the idea of doing a portrait for each of the covers, that way there would be an overall theme for the covers that could tie them all together. This allows me to explore numerous different ways of creating a portrait for each cover. Due to lockdown the first few have all been digital, but now that I have access to the studio again, I would love to see what else I can produce for them.

TF: What is your plan for the remainder of the year, after working on this, more work with Stanley Odd or any other bands?

Now I am just focusing on my storyboard work and planning ahead. I’ve been thinking about getting in to teaching, I love talking to people about art and their own work and other artists work, and I love being able to help out with advice where I can. I’ve had experience in freelance life and in employment in the creative field and a very varied creative background which I think might be of use to others, and if I’m able to help people find their feet in the creative world then I’d love to put all that to good use.

I am going to get back into the studio and get making again. All these months of sketchbook work has given me a lot of material that I can push and explore further and make some new pieces out of. I’ve also been playing around with textiles, I started creating these punch needle pieces, which is kind of like embroidery but with chunky wool, you can make rugs using this method which is something I’d love to explore further, it’s a very relaxing and meditative craft, you can kind of switch of while you do it.

I’ll also be looking to restart the Gums & Tongue Sketchclub night I was hosting before lockdown kicked in. It was a monthly night that I used to go to when I lived in London, and then when I moved back up to Edinburgh I really missed that community, so I though why not have one in Edinburgh. It’s for anyone with or without a sketchbook, come down hangout and have a draw with other likeminded souls. Being an artist can be a very solitary practice so it’s nice to try and provide a space where we can all meet up and catch up and have a drink and draw together. I find I do some of my best drawing in those spaces, you’re not so focused on the drawing, so then you’re not so precious. It’s all great fun.