Experiential Being: Sunflowerman – Part 2
Written by: Anthony Hagan Images by Matthew Miller (Sunflowerman)

As promised, below is the continuation of our interview with Matt Miller (Sunflowerman) – you can view Part 1 here …  There is more great insight from this amazing fashion world presence.  Part 2 is even better than the first piece – it will be well worth your while to soak in the very honest wisdom below …  

“There is a part of your identity that goes into each creation …”

Who is your ultimate style icon and why?

I don’t know. Great question, but I don’t know. I don’t know if it would be any living or dead person. It would have to be the paintings of J.C. Leyendecker. They are the most inspiring works of style that I can imagine. When I want to recall how I would like to be styled it often begins with Leyendecker. 

If there was ever a man who evoked emotion with his fashion illustration it was J.C. He captured the heart of America and it could be said that he created the heart of America in the early 1900’s. As a mentor to Norman Rockwell he paved the way for the great American Illustrator to have the influence that he did.

Your work has a lot of commercial appeal – have you been approached by any corporations for projects, commercials, ads, billboards, etc.?

Yes, in the past I have and there are even some talks now. The work I do is getting in front of more and more eyes and garnering more and more attention. I hope to work with the biggest names out there but I know these things take time. 10 years they say, 10 years in an industry and you are likely to make a name for yourself. 

Right now I am creating my own work, my own waves, my own portfolio of creative imagery and potent messages. Soon enough there won’t be anyone who can say no to me. I will have my pick of brands to work and that humbles me every day. I entered the field of illustration to work with people. I could have been a fine artist if I wanted to sit in a studio and hope for someone to buy my paintings.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I have no idea. I was going to make one up but I got nothing right now.

What is the worst critique you have ever received about your work? What is the best compliment that you have received about your work?

I don’t know if I’ve ever received this question before. The worst critique I ever received was when I was still very young. I was never without a pen or a pencil and paper, I was always drawing. If I wasn’t drawing then there was a problem. The subject of the drawing I did I cannot recall, but I remember the response I had to my siblings’ critique.  There is a part of your identity that goes into each creation you make. When I was younger I couldn’t separate myself from my creations and any critique was a reflection on my own identity. This particular drawing was a breakthrough for me in story-telling, in technique and in patience. My world was wrapped in this creation and I needed to share it. I needed the affirmation from the people around me. So I made the mistake of expecting my siblings to be as impressed as I was. What I got back in response was confusion and derision. I couldn’t believe it, I was destroyed. My entire existence had culminated in this creative expression and it was ill received. So I destroyed the drawing. I tore it to pieces and left it falling to the ground. One compliment doesn’t stand out above any other. When my wife likes my work then I know that it is good. She is a tough critic, but has a discerning eye. 

What do love about the fashion world today?  What do you hate about the fashion world today?

The fashion world today is just about all I know of fashion. I love the use of technology, the spring boarding of social media, the desire to continue to absorb new modes of communication. I love that the menswear industry is growing year over year. I love that it has expanded to allow for all sorts of expression, especially illustration to influence the aesthetic. I tend to avoid public criticisms. For the most part they don’t serve much purpose other than to agitate people, and that’s not worth much. 

Who is you favorite artist and why?

Caravaggio is my favorite artist. Egon Schiele is my favorite artist. David Downton is my favorite artist. Peter Paul Rubens is my favorite artist. Greg Simkins. Alphonse Mucha. J.C. Leyendecker. N.C. Wyeth. Howard Pyle. I have too many favorite artists. They are all amazing. Google image search just one of those names and your life will be changed forever. My life is changed every time I sit and stare in wonder at each of these artists’ amazing works. Each of these artists has played a pivotal role in the crafting of my work. At one point in my life or another, one of these has been with me, guiding me, advising me, providing support for my craft.

I want to style a look book after each of these artists. That would be a life’s work well crafted. Creating a fusion of Menswear and amazing artists.

Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes/items/clothing /etc. do you think defines a man?  What is your personal style?  What one fashion item do you think every guy should own NOW?

I think our culture (western culture) is starting to inch away from gender defined roles in fashion. I would shy away from saying that a man is defined too explicitly by his clothing. To give some direction I can share what I like and what I wear and people can take that for what it’s worth.

Give me a well fitted and proportioned suit, preferably grey-toned, a patterned button up, spread collar shirt, a beautifully ornate tie, cap toe dress shoes and I’m a happy man. I do require colorful frames, a pencil, a sketchbook and a coffee in hand for my sanity. These are the base requirements mind you. They are non-negotiable. I would say that finding the things that make you happy is the most important. Send me out in a crowd with my frames, pencil and sketchbook and I will wear whatever you put me in. 

My personal style would likely be defined as eclectic, a touch of conservatism with an artistic flair. It can be understood by what it’s not. It is not original, unique, my own, individual and I am ok with that. I am happy with traditions. Traditions are history, they are dense with life and emotion. Traditions begin a story and allow me to join at my leisure. Stories are beautiful and the bigger they are, the more fun it is to be a part of.

What is your personal life philosophy?

Experience Life. Create beautiful things. Be happy and humble. Even bad things are good. I’m just spouting off ideas. I have yet to develop a life philosophy. Get back with me in 5 years.

How can people learn more about your current and upcoming works?

Go to my website and sign up for the Sunflowerman Team. I share all of the projects I am working on and I share my ideas for new projects before they become reality. And follow me on social media @sunflowerman.

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