We had the good fortune of connecting with Matty Esswein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matty, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
10,000 hours of dedication will make you an expert or great at something. No. I disagree. 10,000 hours will make you BETTER at something but great? that goal post just keeps moving. Also, 10,000 hours doesn’t make you an expert. It gives you just enough information to get into trouble. I mean, I’ve been a human (I think) 24 hours a day for over 30 years and I’m still trying to calibrate this clumsy meat suit I’m tethered to.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I find that old adage “There’s nothing new under the sun” pretty inspiring. Which may sound weird but we really do live in a world where literally everything has been done. If you can accept that being original is out the window then perhaps you can just relax allow yourself to have fun with being creative. More importantly if you can’t be original then you should be sincere. Sincerity is something I really strive for in my work – just honest work that’s deep rooted in the culture and scenes I grew up in as it’s what I understand best. And I suppose that’s what I’m most excited about – slowly figuring out ways to blend together all these things that inspire and excite me into designs that resonate with people. And no it wasn’t easy to get to this point. Moving states for opportunities, living in cars and supply closets, battling depression, couch surfing, eating one meal a day, watching your ego wither and die, staying hungry and aggressively seeking out knowledge – you know, artist stuff. AND the most important lesson I’ve learned up this point – It’s not always about you. It’s about the work. A painting, drawing, or tattoo should speak for itself. It’s about working hard and doing a good job for the sake of simply loving the craft and not needing others to tell you how great you are.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Man, have you spent much time in the city? Look around! Everything is exciting. Step out your door the world is buzzing with people trying and failing or succeeding to various degrees. Like do you really need a guide for this? It’s the city, whatever you’re into it’s there and it’s happening. Put $43 in your wallet, throw a sandwich and some water in your backpack and go for a walk. Talk to strangers, open doors to places that seem interesting, read fliers, see where the day takes you. How fucking boring to have an itinerary in a place so full of life. The plane landed, you took a train from the airport, you’ve arrived – figure it out and have fun with it. BUT if you need a suggestion go get a drink from 715 or Horseshoe form Priscilla or Katie or Caleb depending on the day, and tip them.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My dad – who set me on a quest at a young age to discover what love is.
Other: Streets of Denver often on foot. Yeah, you can find me there.