Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey - Graduate ProfileMatt is an illustrator and tattoo artist currently working at Parliament Tattoo. His darkly humorous tattoos have earned him a huge fan base and led to opportunities such as collaborating with Dr. Martens.

He spoke to us about his journey after graduation and how studying Illustration with us helped to prepare him for his career. 

Can you tell me about your journey since graduation?

After graduating, it took me a few years to really get going. Eventually I was able to make enough each month from freelance jobs/ selling art on the side that I was able to quit my job. After that, I was able to get a tattoo apprenticeship and throw myself into working as a full time artist.

When you started university did you have a career path in mind?

I'd love to say so, but not really. I just knew that I wanted to make art for a living, and I would have taken more or less any opportunity that let me do that.

What do you enjoy most about your current role at Parliament Tattoo?

Um, everything? It's basically a dream workplace. I'm surrounded by mind bogglingly talented people, who are very open to giving advice when asked. It's a very supportive, fun environment. 

What is your proudest achievement to date?

Haha, I'm not sure to be honest. I was happy to work with Dr Martens, drawing on shoes in a few of their stores. That was one I could show my mum.

Matt Bailey speaks about his career.
Matt Bailey speaks about his career.

What has been the most enjoyable project you’ve worked on so far?

I take enjoyment in lots of different aspects of my work, for different reasons. I enjoy tattooing because it gives me a regular and varied set of briefs to work with, and allows me to practice a skill I enjoy. Selling merchandise is it's own beast, and when that works, it can be extremely rewarding. So I suppose there isn't really a single thing I can look at and say that it was my favourite. 

Matt Bailey speaks to us about his career.
Matt Bailey speaks to us about his career.

Why did you choose to study at BCU?

Because of the wonderful print room!! Every technician in there is so dedicated to helping students make work they can be proud of, and experiment with different methods of making work. I definitely wouldn't be working in quite the same way without them.

Did your studies help to prepare you for your current role?

Yes and no. There's not really any way to prepare for working as a freelance illustrator. Every job and client is so different, and each come with their own challenges. I think that the best thing about studying art is that you have the time to work on yourself and your own work, rather than preparing for imaginary hurdles along the way.

What advice would you give to current Illustration students?

Pay attention to current artists, make lots of work, and try to enjoy yourself while you're at it.

To see more of Matt's work take a look at his website