Interview by Glenn Sakamoto
Matthew Wigglesworth is a surfer/artist living in South Wales in the UK. After years in the corporate world, Matthew returned to his childhood passion of drawing and painting. Inspired by his many travels, he creates mostly solitary figures that eschew the virtues of a simple life. We spoke with Matthew to learn more.
What was your childhood like?
I grew up in the country surrounded by fields and farms. My childhood was happy, I remember my parents always having friends over for meals and socialising. Every summer we would go to the South of France to see family. We would travel all over Europe sleeping in the car and on the sides of roads and we would wash in rivers and eat local farm food. I loved those road trips. My parents were freaking cool. I feel like most of my childhood was spent having adventures in the countryside and travelling and hanging out at beaches swimming in the big surf on my dad’s shoulders.
What inspired you to begin creating art?
A lot of soul searching. I got lost in the corporate machine and I wanted out. I spent years trying to rediscover who I was in this world and how I fit in. Sounds weird, but I had a dream that spun my life around. It went from there, the dream opened my vision to what I had forgotten about myself. I've always loved art, even as a kid all I did was draw and be wild. So it was just such a stoke to find my vibe again. I just went down the store and bought some art supplies and it went from there. I'm still learning (laughs).
What do you hope to create in the mind of the person viewing your art?
I love people and I’m so humbled when people dig my art. I love simplicity. My art represents the life I love. So I hope to create simple pieces of artwork that let people visualise that lifestyle and see it come to life and feel it. Be that person, that thing, and take away the distractions. Focus on the fun playful and colourful times of life.
Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out? And why?
Man, I love travelling. I've been around the world and lived in many countries. I love Australia the people are ace. I love Asia, too – it's freaking awesome in so many ways, and America always stokes me. Europe is a trip, I love France.
A month after my wife Sara and I were married, my dad calls and invites us to travel around Europe with him. He wanted help taking aid supplies to Romania to help out the poor at the time. Whilst there, I found a secret little monastery one day when walking with Sara in the forested mountains. It was a male-only dig, so I went and hung out with these French speaking monks for a bit while my wife played with their little pet deer. I came out peaceful (laughs). It was so cool.
That summer was so hot, we camped out by a river under the stars, cooked on open fires and chilled with the locals swimming in lakes and eating simple food. I got to hang and travel with my dad too, he's so rad and chilled. They were some great memories with great people before life got complicated.
Who/what inspires you?
So many people. My little sister Leila and my Mum. Anyone who is positive and doing their thing with a smile. Nature of course – it just gets on with what it's supposed to do. Very humbling.
What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
Be peaceful and kind. Love life and people and don't be a d**k.
What are you most proud of?
I've got four boys and an amazing wife. I love my whole family they are awesome. Following my dreams whilst others mock and try to be all serious in your face. Wear those yellow pants, who cares!
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
Freak, man. I found surfing almost 30 years ago. It's wrecked my life (laughs)! I mean it just changes everything. You can't look at anything seriously anymore, or look at things the same, which is a good thing I guess. It gives me so much peace and perspective. Life gets heavy and I go for a surf and it all fits back together again, mostly. It's my retreat. It’s like if you’ve never run your hand down a wave as it trails behind you and looked through that glassy space and seen fish and things under your feet as you glide by, man – you can’t give someone that experience. And when you start talking to the waves…
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
Alex Knost, Ryan Lovelace, Ryan Burch, Tyler Warren, Joel Tudor, and Nathan Strom – I watch that kid loads. Anyone going out with a good vibe no matter what they surf or how, just smiling and sharing a positive vibe.
What “Golden Rule” do you live by?
Treat others like they were your best friend. Share.
What is your favorite board? Your favorite surf spot?
Love my Mini-Simmons. 5’6 speedster under my feet. Such a sweet ride. Surf breaks, yeah well so many.
Depends on the country. If I could hang at one for a while and absorb the whole thing, the whole vibe, I'd choose any bay at Noosa. I remember surfing Tea Tree Bay. The swell was just coming so it was only about 3 feet but rising. It was early morning, hot already. I remember catching this wave and it started raining, like heavy and the wave went on forever. My legs were like Jelly after that ride, but it was so nice and mellow and all. Then I remembered I left my backpack with my towel and stuff on the beach. Everything was soaked – even my passport. (Yeah I know, who leaves their passport in their bag on the beach right?)
What's your favorite meal?
Love homemade juices and Buddha bowls. If I had to die with food in my mouth it would be any type of Laksa.
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?The Paranoyds, Ty Segall, Tomorrow’s Tulips, The Growlers, Rodriguez, The Photographic, Oscar Galt & The Eventual Somethings, Milky Chance, Joris Delacroix, Jaco Pastorius etc.
What are you most grateful for?
God, family, friends and life.
What’s next for Matthew Wigglesworth?
I’ve got a nice Fish Fry Mini-Simmons blank I picked up in Cornwall that needs shaping. My head’s buzzing – where do I start?
To view more examples of his work and to learn more, visit his site, www.artbymw.uk.