Mummbles, also known as Matt Rogers, is a typographical artist. The precision of his craft is undeniable but it is his content choices – combinations of engaging, optimistic, and often philosophical phrases occasionally accompanied by slick rockabilly scenery – that stand Rogers apart from the rest.
Matt took the time to answer some questions for us here at Art Plugged. He tells us about the influence of graffiti, the beauty of sash windows, and smiling at life’s simple pleasures.
Q: First things First, introduce yourself! What do you make, how do you work?
A: Hi, I am Matt Rogers otherwise known as Mummbles. I live and work in South East London, making bespoke hand painted signs using traditional sign writing techniques. As well as framed pieces I like to use interesting mediums such as old windows or found wood that have character to them. I find a lot of the time, the material I use and where it came from painting inspires the word or phrase I paint on it giving each piece its own story.
Q: What would you say your artistic background is? How long have you been working?
A: I have always loved type this started at a young age with graffiti. I came across the book called ‘Subway Art’ by Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper. I instantly fell in love with it. I would sit and copy all the pieces in the book and then I created my own name, “mummbles” and would spend hours writing it in different styles – and I still do!
I found that book when I was seven, and I haven’t stopped drawing letters since. I would just say my draughtsman skills have got a bit more legible!
Q: What drew you to sign-painting?
A: I studied graphic design at Camberwell UAL, which was a great course and taught me lots of technique and skill of which I use to design a lot of my work. However, it did make me realise that I didn’t enjoy the digital process as much as I thought and that I much preferred being hands on. With only a couple months left of uni a friend asked me to paint them a pub sign knowing I was good with drawing type. I instantly connected with the process and was eager to learn all the tricks of the trade.
Q: What is your favourite piece you’ve created?
A: That is a tricky question. I have a few and for different reasons. ‘Welcome to the Circus’, using gold leaf, has to be up there with the favourites, the size, the phrase and the popularity it has, I think says it all.
I once painted a piece saying, ‘Be up away from down’, which a young lady bought. I later bumped into her and she told me how she suffers from depression and mental health issues and that my art piece helps her to get out of bed in the morning and makes her happy on a daily basis. This made me realise the impact of my work – words are powerful!
Q: Do you prefer working on certain materials?
A: Sash windows have to be my favourite. They have so much character to them. It’s so much fun finding windows that are an unusual shape or have layers of different coloured paint that is chipping off. You can tell the windows have been around for many years some from the Victorian era, they’ve seen a lot of history and that can be a real inspiration.
Q: Who are your biggest inspirations?
A: Artists that inspire me include Pose, Shepard Fairy, Telegramme Papers, Tj Guzzardi, Sthlm Signs. They are letter based – excluding Shepard Fairy, but all have very different styles which I love.
Q: How to you strike the balance between being an artist and being your own salesperson?
A: This is something I struggled with when starting out because your valuation of your own work requires a lot of self-confidence. But what I have learnt over the years is that you have to believe in your work and put in the same amount of effort into being your own salesperson as you do an artist. I spend my day designing and painting and then from the early evening I start working on getting my artwork out there for people to see. The balance also comes from enjoying being your own salesperson. I love meeting new people, striking friendships, talking to people you wouldn’t normally, all of these things help when making such specific and personal pieces.
Q: Social Media as a tool for artists – pro or anti?
A: Absolutely pro. Instagram has worked wonders for me over the past years. I have got numerous jobs through the app. As well as that, it has allowed me to communicate with so many people that I never thought or imagined being able to. I have made many friends and clients. Instagram can also be very influential, being able to see what other people are doing artistically and seeing their process. It’s a great teaching tool.
Q: What are you angry about right now?
A: I have to say, I’m not really an angry guy. I see the world for what it is and appreciate the small things. That is why I make the art that I do. I want people to think more positively and take time to stop and smile at the simple things in life.
Q: Where can we next see your work?
A: I am hoping to either do a solo show or a collaboration with someone during 2020. There are plans to collaborate with The Circle, a tattoo shop in Soho in the summer. But in the meantime you can follow my Instagram account @mummbles_art where I will be doing some fun projects and where you can find all my recent works.