The Kubert School Spotlight recognizes a chosen Kubert School instructor or alumni, showcasing their work and journey as a comic book professional.

    Talent from The Kubert School


    Matt Andreas

    Tattoo artist

    Interview by Michael Kraiger

    The Kubert School: Do you remember when you first noticed comics or comic books?

    Matt Andreas: I first noticed the Archie comics in the grocery store when I would be dragged there by my mom.

    TKS:  Do you remember when you started drawing or perhaps drawing better (or more) than other people?

    Matt Andreas: Like everyone normally says, I've been drawing since I was a young kid but it wasn't until fifth or sixth grade that I knew I drew better than most when people would come to me and ask me to draw pictures for them.

    TKS: What were some of your earliest artistic influences?

    Matt Andreas: I would have to say the strongest influence on me, as a youngster was most definetely the X-Mem animated cartoon in the 90's. When you're young you draw what you see, so at that time I was drawing a lot of comic book characters.

    TKS: Is there an artist whose work at some point you realized you recognized and that it was a single person drawing it?

    Matt Andreas: I would have to say Sam Kieth. For reasons unbeknownst to me his work, especially his cover work, always stood out amis the other 90's comic art. Later on in life I have to say Lee Bermejo. His work in undeniably identifiable. His mix of fine art and narrative art is very recognizable.

    TKS: Who some of your earliest influences?

    Matt Andreas: When I was young, I was exposed to fine art, as I was p[ainting more than drawing, so artists like Jan Van Eyck, Dali, and Monet were a few of the artists I idolized, Later on it was artists like Alex Ross, Alex Grey that caught my eye. I always strove to be more realistic in my work but I always appreciated te abstract and impressionism that is all around us, especially in art.

    TKS: At what point did you realize that being an artist was a career choice you were moving towards?

    Matt Andreas: I stopped drawing for a long time and tried to pursue other outlets and it wasn't until I started to get tattooed heavily that I began getting back into art. So you could say tattoos pulled me back into my own art.

    TKS: How did you learn about The Kubert School?

    MattAndreas: I learned about the school through the tattoo artist who tattooed me for years. He was an alumnus of the school and he told me if I wanted to get better, I should check out the Kubert School. In his words, "It's a boot camp for artists". So, if it weren't for Yurgo Tasiopoulos, I would neve have heard of the school.

    TKS: Is there any particular class or lesson that stands out from your three years at the school?

    Matt Andreas: The things I learned in Kim DeMulder's, Methods and Materials class in my first year have stuck with me ever since. I was accustomed to using a pencil or two when I drew, he then showed me how to properly use everything else in the arsenal. I would be remiss if I didn't mention Joe Kubert, not only because my class was the last to have him as a teacher, but also for how he brought the best out of you. He was the one instructor you didn't want to disappoint.

    TKS: Did you ever doubt you'd made the right choice in coming to the school?

    Matt Andreas: Everyone who goes down this road has times of doubt, you'd be lying if you say you haven't. My class, though small, had an abundance of talent, so ther would be times when I'd look at their work then back at mine and think, "Why am I here?" but that only made me work harder.

    TKS: What's the best trick or the most valuable bit of advice you received while at the school?

    Matt Andreas: The best advice I received was from Joe Kubert, he always told me to keep drawing. He would say that to me every day. I actually had that tattooed on myself after his passing.

    TKS: What was your first professional work after attending the school?

    Matt Andreas: This is where I might catch some flack, I didn't go to the school to get into comics. I went to get better at my art, so my first professional work didn't happen until I began tattooing.

    TKS: What sparked your interest in tattoos?

    Matt Andreas: I was always interested in tattoos ever since I was a kid. I would look through what few tattoo magazines there were available at the time and be in awe about how cool they looked. It wasn't until the early 2000's when I began getting tattooed heavily that I even considered pursuing it as a career.

    TKS: What was your first tattoo? 

    Matt Andreas: My first tattoo was a random piece of tribal flash I picked off the wall on my eighteenth birthday. My parents always said that if I wanted a tattoo when I turned eighteen they would pay for it. I focused on the fact it was free instead of what to get. I hate it now, but back when I was one of three people in an entire high school to have a tattoo, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.

    TKS: What was the first thing you tattooed on someone else?

    Matt Andreas: The first person I tattooed was my mentor. He had me tattoo a piece of Sailor Jerry flash on his shin, the most nerve-racking tattoo I have ever done.

    TKS: What can you tell us about your current job?

    Matt Andreas: Currently I am a tattoo artist at Gateway Tattoo in Suffern, New York. I spend my days drawing on people, it's a lot of fun.

    TKS: How did the school's curriculum prepare you for tattooing?

    Matt Andreas: While narrative art and tattooing are completely different forms of art, the school taught the fundamentals, color theory, lighting, composition, etc. All of those things translate perfectly for tattooing. Every piece has to have a solid composition, a readable color palette, and proper rendering to make it a success.

    TKS: What would you want people to understand about tattooing?

    Matt Andreas: I want people to know that it's an industry rich in tradition. It's not just pictures on the skin. I feel with the popularity in today's climate, people treat tattoos as an accessory instead of a personal piece of art. I blame the tattoo TV shows for that. but most importantly, I want people to understand that there are a lot of options nowadays. But for every good tattoo artist, there are twenty terrible tattooists, so, do your research. Good work ain't cheap, and cheap work ain't good.

    TKS: What's a typical workday like for you?

    Matt Andreas: I don't have a typical day and I like that. I could spend one day doing small simple pieces and the next I could be doing a realistic sleeve. Every day is new and unpredictable.

    TKS: What are you working on now?

    Matt Andreas: I'm working on six different projects at any time. The school more than prepared me for that.

    TKS: What's next for you? 

    Matt Andreas: I've only been professionally tattooing for two years so I am just focused on getting better and learning different styles of tattooing. The day you stop learning is the day you stop doing.

    TKS: Is there any advice you'd give to a first-year student or to someone considering coming to the school?

    Matt Andreas: Make sure it's what you want to do, this school has a knack for weeding out the weak. Make friends with coffee, you're going to be drinking a lot of it. I think my biggest piece of advice would be to ask questions. The instructors are there to help, don''t be afraid to ask Adam or Andy to look at something, you'll be better for it.

    The thing about the Kubert School is that it is undeniably a sink or swim environment. You go in there all bright eyed and then Fernando Ruiz walks in the room and lays down the law, then hands you an assignment where you need to have 15 different elements, and it's due in a week. Then you have nine other similar assignment that week to balance as well. So you are hitting the ground running, which will either make you or break you, Even with all the stress and all-nighters, it was a great experience to be surrounded by like-minded individuals all day. The friends I made there remain friends to this day. You definitely have a sense of accomplishment when you graduate because you definitely earned it.

    TKS: Anything you'd like to add about Joe Kubert?

    Matt Andreas: Joe was a commanding presence who had every right to be pompous due to the list of his accomplishments, but he was the opposite. Joe didn't have to be there teaching, he was there because he loved doing it and it showed through his demeanor. the one thing that sticks out in my mind in regard to Joe is that no matter what he was working on, he would stop to help you. He would put aside a page he was doing for DC Comics and help you figure out the proper perspective for an assignment. That just speaks volumes to his character. I feel lucky to have had the pleasure to be taught by him.