Matthew smiles and looks into the camera

Matthew Hill

MA Fine Art

After completing both a BA and Master’s in Fine Art, as well as a PGCE in Further Education, Matthew went into teaching. But after showcasing his digital art skills online, Matthew was offered the opportunity to work in the film industry, landing his big break as a Concept Modeller on The Batman, before moving to Paramount Pictures to work as a Concept Artist on blockbusters like Mission: Impossible.

“University for me was always on the cards. But when I finished A-levels, it was more of a decision of what to study, because although I was interested in the sciences, I was passionate about art and design. I thought that a science subject would offer more stability, but in the end, I decided to study what I loved, and I’m so glad that I did.

I did look around other universities, but I found the campuses uninspiring. That was the best thing about BCU for me, the Margaret Street building. It is such an inspiring place, and I could picture myself studying there. I chose Fine Art as it gave me the freedom to try lots of different things, so I could find what I enjoyed most. However, I didn’t do too well in my A-Levels and didn’t get the grades I wanted. Thankfully, BCU were willing to focus more on the performance in my interview, and the work I had put into my portfolio, and they gave me a chance.

I ended up being at BCU for a long time! I studied Fine Art as an undergraduate, but I returned to continue studying the subject at master’s level too. I then decided to take my skills into teaching, so I then did a PGCE Cert in Further Education, before going on to teach in both further and higher education.

I started teaching Fine Art and Photography at a local college, before becoming the Course Leader in Interactive Media. But then I decided to try something new and became a Digital Artist and Illustrator for Games Workshop, which then gave me the skills to teach Game Art at the University of Worcester, before becoming a Lecturer in Creative Digital Skills at Coventry University.

After uploading snippets of my art and illustrations online, I was invited to work on a Mark Wahlberg film called ‘The Six Billion Dollar Man’, but after a few months, production was stopped and I assumed that was the end of my film career. But then I got asked to work on a Netflix series called ‘Cursed’, and then a series of commercials.

I was still working at Coventry University when I got offered the opportunity to work on The Batman, and I couldn’t say no. After I’d finished that, along came the chance to work at Paramount Pictures as a Concept Artist for both Mission: Impossible 7 and 8. I never really expected to work in film, and I always thought that it would be a temporary thing. But then I got more and more offers, to the point that it became a very real full-time job for me.

Finding work in the film industry is a lot about your portfolio and previous work as opposed to just your formal qualifications. However, my time at BCU provided me with the time to learn a skill set that I have been able to use in both my teaching and film career and allowed me to develop a stronger portfolio. Just having that time to really focus on learning all kinds of different skills has benefitted me in my career, as I use many of them on a daily basis.

The master’s degree helped me to focus on learning digital art and creation. It was probably the most important year of my entire career so far because if I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be getting the jobs that I’m doing now. My master’s was an investment and it’s definitely helped me get to where I am now.

I always take pride in the work that I do, but since graduating, I’m most proud of the moments I get to go into local schools and colleges and even back to BCU, to share what working in the film industry is like. If it wasn't for me sharing some work online, I never would have worked in this profession. I feel like there are a lot of people out there who have the talent, but they just don't ever get that big break or get the chance to show the right people. So, I always try and make the time for those events, to be able to speak to young people and students. It is so rewarding a few years later when I receive an email saying that my advice helped them.

A lot of the time, Art is seen as a hobby and not a career. We are surrounded by art and design but people take it for granted. We play video games, go to the cinema, and admire architecture but people forget there is work in that. It’s rewarding to remind people that they can be the ones creating art.

When I hear ‘I am BCU’, it reminds me that regardless of background, where you are from or who you are, you can meet your full potential.”