Rodney Matthews

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Rodney Matthews
Born Rodney Clive Matthews
(1945-07-06) 6 July 1945 (age 70)
Paulton, North Somerset, England, UK
Nationality British
Known for Painting, Drawing, Conceptual Design
Movement Fantasy art, Science-fiction, Surrealism
Website www.rodneymatthews.com

Rodney Matthews illustrator and conceptual designer has remained in the vanguard of world fantasy and science-fiction design for more than 40 years.

Career[1][edit]

Trained at the West of England College of Art, Matthews worked in advertising before turning freelance in 1970.

Matthews has painted over 130 subjects for record album covers, for many rock and progressive rock bands. More than 90 of his pictures have been published worldwide, selling millions in poster format, as well as many international editions of calendars, jigsaw puzzles, postcards, notecards, snowboards and T-shirts.

His originals have been widely exhibited throughout the UK and Europe. Of particular note, he was a regular exhibitor at Britain's foremost illustrators' gallery, the Chris Beetles Gallery, in London's West End, where he met English comedian, actor, writer and producer John Cleese. Cleese, who owns six originals and commissioned the piece 'Take Him Inside' from 'The Wind and The Willows', clearly holds Matthews in high acclaim:

"Michelangelo, Manet, Monet, Matisse, Munch, Modrain, and Matthews. All my favourite artists begin with an 'M'. And so, Rodney Matthews is generally acknowledged to be among the greatest artists that have ever lived. Need I say more? Please buy this book, and all his other works, because then my immense collection of stuff will become even more valuable. Especially when he dies." (John Cleese, 2008)

Cleese, of course, is referring to the classic story ‘Alice in Wonderland’, published by Templar in 2008, where we are given a feast for the eyes, as Matthews’ illustrations take us on a spectacular journey throughout Lewis Carroll’s amazing, magical dreamland.

Matthews has illustrated numerous books, however he is most closely associated with English fantasy and science-fiction author Michael Moorcock. Their collaboration in the 1970s resulted in a series of 12 large posters, depicting scenes from Moorcock’s ‘Eternal Champion’ series, being published by the legendary Big O poster company in London, Germany, and the USA. These images were also used for a 1978 calendar entitled ‘Wizardry and Wild Romance’. Matthews has also designed the covers and illustrated many Moorcock novels, receiving great praise from Moorcock (London: 1984) himself:

"Like only a few artists, Rodney Matthews frequently has the knack of exactly capturing not only the described detail of my scenes, but (much harder to accomplish) also of catching the exact mood of a piece."

In 1998, Matthews and the late Gerry Anderson completed Lavender Castle, a major children's animation series, with 26 x 10 minute episodes incorporating stop-motion model animation and CGI. It was produced at Cosgrove Hall Films in Manchester, England and purchased by ITV for the UK, collecting impressive ratings and reviews. Matthews has also contributed concept designs for the 2005 movie 'The Magic Roundabout'.

His talents are in demand by computer game developers, having supplied overall conceptual design for the Sony/Psygnosis game Shadow Master. He has also provided conceptual designs for the game Haven: Call of the King, published by Midway.

Matthews has produced some distinctive publicity and a logo for the UK’s pioneering green energy company Ecotricity, the first in the world to offer Green Electricity.

Current projects include a music album influenced by Matthews' images; with Matthews on the drums and writing the lyrics, American guitarist Jeff Scheetz, John Payne (Asia) on bass guitar, Oliver Wakeman (Yes) on keyboards and Pete Coleman (composer and multi-instrumentalist).

Rodney Matthews is still active in many of these genres, including record covers (his most recent being No Means of Escape for Nazareth), private international commissions, animation and sales of originals.

Album covers[2][3][edit]

Album Covers (including EPs, LPs and DVDs):

Books[edit]

Anthologies:

  • 1985, Rodney Matthews & Nigel Suckling, In Search of Forever, Dragon’s World (n.b. there is also a Japanese edition).
  • 1989, Rodney Matthews & Nigel Suckling, Last Ship Home, Dragon's World.
  • 1990, Rodney Matthews & Nigel Suckling, Voyages Extrêmes, Vents d'Ouest (n.b. this is the French edition of Last Ship Home).
  • 1997, Rodney Matthews & Nigel Suckling, Countdown to Millennium, Collins & Brown.

Portfolios:

  • 1990, Rodney Matthews & Nigel Suckling, The Rodney Matthews Portfolio, Dragon's World.
  • 1993, Rodney Matthews & Pauline Fisk, The 2nd Rodney Matthews Portfolio, Dragon's World.
  • 1994, Rodney Matthews & Nigel Suckling, Rodney Matthews (Paper Tiger Miniatures), Paper Tiger.

Illustrated Books:

  • 1974, The Blue Planet Series: Book 1: Blast Off! Childs Play (International) Ltd.
  • 1974, The Blue Planet Series: Book 2: The Journey, Childs Play (International) Ltd.
  • 1974, The Blue Planet Series: Book 3: On the Planet, Childs Play (International) Ltd.
  • 1974, The Blue Planet Series: Book 4: Back to Earth, Childs Play (International) Ltd.
  • 1978, Rodney Matthews & Graham Smith, Yendor: The Journey of a Junior Adventurer, Big O Publishing.
  • 1980, Michael Moorcock, Stormbringer, USA: Archival Press.
  • 1986, Cheryl Evans & Anne Millard, Usborne Illustrated Guide to Norse Myths and Legends, Usborne.
  • 1987, Cheryl Evans & Anne Millard, Usborne Illustrated Guide to Greek Myths and Legends, Usborne.
  • 1987, Michael Moorcock: A Collaboration with Rodney Matthews, Elric at the End of Time, Dragon's World.
  • 1994, Felicity Brooks, Tales of King Arthur, Usborne.
  • 1998, Felicity Brooks, Tales of King Arthur & His Knights, Usborne.
  • 1999, Doug King & Rodney Matthews, The Snugldorfs - Smile God Loves You! USA: Cepher.
  • 2008, Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, Templar (foreword by John Cleese).
  • 2010, Rodney Matthews & Marco Palmer, The Fantastic Intergalactic Adventures of Stanley & Livingston, Rodney Matthews Studios.

Paperback Covers:

Stephen R. Lawhead:

  • 1990, The Paradise War, Lion Books.
  • 1991, The Silver Hand, Lion Books.
  • 1992, The Endless Knot, Lion Books.

A. Merritt:

  • 1977, The Face in the Abyss, New York: Avon Books.
  • 1977, The Moon Pool, New York: Avon Books.

Michael Moorcock:

  • 1976, Legends From the End of Time, W.H. Allen (image: Mongrove).
  • 1976, The End of All Songs, Granada/Mayflower (image: Lord Jagged of Canaria).
  • 1976, The Transformation of Miss Mavis Ming, W.H. Allen (image: The Return of the Fireclown).
  • 1979, The Bull & The Spear, Granada (image: The Hound Master of Kerenos).
  • 1979, The Knight of the Swords, Granada (image: In the Flamelands).

Andre Norton:

  • 1977, Spell of the Witch World, Wyndham/Universal.
  • 1977, Three Against the Witch World, Wyndham/Universal.
  • 1977, Web of the Witch World, Wyndham/Universal.
  • 1977, Witch World, Wyndham/Universal.
  • 1978, Sorceress of the Witch World, Wyndham/Universal.
  • 1978, The Year of the Unicorn, Wyndham/ Universal.
  • 1978, Trey of Swords, Wyndham/Universal.
  • 1978, Warlock of the Witch World, Wyndham/ Universal.

Clark Ashton Smith:

  • 1976, Other Dimensions: Volume 1, Panther/Granada (image: Venus Cruiser).
  • 1976, Other Dimensions: Volume 2, Panther/ Granada (image: The Ghoul).

Others:

  • 1977, Michael Moorcock (Editor), England Invaded: A Collection of Fantasy Fiction, W.H. Allen (image: The Monster of Lake La Metrie).
  • 1978, John Crowley, Beasts, Orbit/Futura (image: The Old Shot Tower).
  • 1978, Patricia A, McKillip, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, New York: Avon Books.
  • 1978, Josef Nesvabda, In the Footsteps of the Abominable Snowman, New English Library.
  • 1979, Robert Lynn Asprin, The Bug Wars, New English Library.
  • 1985, Andrew Chapman, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone Present: Seas of Blood (Fighting Fantasy), Puffin Books.
  • 1986, Joseph O'Neill, Land Under England, Penguin Books (image: Beneath the Wall).
  • 1987, ‘Worlds Without Words’ (Educational Resources), 4mation.
  • 1988, Jack Vance, Green Magic: The Fantasy Realms of Jack Vance, Tor (image: The Last Armada).
  • 1988, Jack Vance, Grüne Magie, Heyne (image: Tiger Moth).
  • 1992, Colin Duriez, The Tolkien and Middle-Earth Handbook, Monarch.
  • 1992, Naomi Starkey, Ends of the Earth, Minstrel/Kingsway.
  • 2009, Mark Jones, Bristol Folk, BFP (Matthews contributed a written piece and the book includes many of his images)
  • 2010, George Russell, Where the Bugs Wear Boots, George Russell Associates.

(Rodney Matthews' images have also been used on many international editions, particularly for Moorcock's German publishers.)

Magazine Covers:

Vortex: The Science Fiction Fantasy:

  • Vol. 1 No. 1, January 1977: Vortex, 1976.
  • Vol. 1 No. 2, February 1977: Space Hijak, 1976.
  • Vol. 1 No. 3, March 1977: Out of an Amber Sky, 1976.
  • Commissioned, but unused: Metropolis Trap, 1977.
  • Commissioned, but unused: The Crab, 1977.

Imagine (published by T.S.R. Hobbies (UK) Ltd):

  • No. 1, April 1983: Elric and Moonglum, 1976.
  • No. 9, December 1983: Imagine, 1982.
  • No. 12, March 1984: The Guardian Awakes, 1982.
  • No. 22, January 1985: Earl Aubec of Malador, 1984.
  • Issue and date unknown: Araneida the Destroyer, 1983.
  • Sales leaflet cover: Who Disturbs the Tyrant? 1983.

FAB – The Gerry Anderson Fan Magazine:

  • No. 32, 1998.
  • No. 36, 1998.

Others:

  • Software Communications Magazine, The Fury, 1988.
  • Skivor & Band, The Rainbow Room, 1993.
  • Classic Rock Trade Magazine, The Hop, 2003.

Bands and Recordings[edit]

Bands:

  • The Cheetahs
  • The Rhythm Cats
  • Pentworth's People
  • Barnaby Goode
  • Originn
  • Squidd

Recordings:

  • Pentworth's People: Demo on vinyl (2 tracks).
  • Squidd: Twice Upon a Time (3 track CD).
  • Frog Riders: Utterly Spontaneous - Jam Session (7 track CD).
  • Rudi Dobson & Rodney Matthews, featuring Tony Clarkin: The House on the Rock (3 track CD).
  • Jeff Scheetz, Rodney Matthews & Friends (John Payne, Oliver Wakeman, Bob Catley and Pete Coleman): I Saw Three Ships – Christmas CD with card (1 track).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Home>RodneyMatthewsStudio>About". Etsy. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Matthews, Rodney (1986). In search of forever (New ed.). Limpsfield, Surrey, Great Britain: Dragon' s World. ISBN 1850280037. 
  3. ^ Matthews, Rodney; Nigel Suckling (text); Rodney Matthews (art) (1999). Last ship home. London: Paper Tiger. ISBN 1850280959. 

External links[edit]