Prospect‘s cartoonist of the month is Alexander Matthews.
Alexander’s cartoon (above) appears on page 7 of the June issue. His cartoons for Prospect, and a selection from his new book, Crystalline Structure Friday, will be published on First Drafts over the next month.
First, give me your autobiography in 100 words or so
I’m 33 and from near Reading. I have a degree in graphic design and illustration and I lecture at university level in those subjects in Moscow. So I spend most of my time in Russia and my summers in England, balancing being a cartoonist with lecturing. Russia is very weird, but it’s an adventure. My Russian is still very bad and yes, it’s cold (but right now it’s scorching). I have been a cartoonist for about three or four years. I have recently become an uncle.
Can you tell us how you got the inspiration for your cartoon in Prospect this month?
I was just thinking about the most ludicrous thing a manager could do to raise the morale of their staff, and I came up with putting a rhino in the office. I’ve also been playing around with over elaborate captions and unnatural speech recently, so I put the two things together and it I suppose it worked.
I know it’s a terrible question to ask, but where do you get your ideas from?
What other cartoonists have influenced you, or do you most admire?
My biggest influence is Banx, from the work he did for Oink! comic which I loved as a child. Nowadays I admire the New Yorker‘s Charles Barsotti. I also love the work of the French illustrator Serge Bloch.
Out of all the cartoons you’ve ever drawn, do you have a favourite?
It changes constantly. At the moment my favourite is one I can’t sell:
It’s probably just me that finds it funny!
How do you work?
I work in a sketchbook first and draw out my cartoon ideas in little boxes, then I draw them straight on the computer using a stylus and drawing pad. I don’t work at a desk. Terrible though it may seem, I often squat on the floor…