Artist profile: Designer Matt Holley does work

  • Photo by Meghan Ralston
By Columbus Alive
From the January 16, 2014 edition

Have you given up on your New Year’s resolution yet? Yup. Well, look no further than freelance Columbus designer Matt Holley for inspiration.

Holley’s New Year’s resolution for 2013 was to create a new T-shirt design every week for the whole year. And he did, and then some. Holley ended up with 63 total shirts, a varied mix of pop culture, humorous animal motifs and personal designs. It’s quite an impressive project, especially considering its humble beginnings.

“I wanted to give myself a creative challenge for the year,” Holley said. “It was more for personal growth, keeping my illustration skills sharpened [and] making myself get into the sketch book and draw something every week.”

Holley has always had a passion for illustrating and drawing, but found his professional career was getting in the way. He was constantly working on client projects and wanted to step back from the computer screen and return to hands-on work.

Holley’s personal mission eventually became more than he expected. He opened an online store for his T-shirt designs and things took off.

“Black Friday through Christmas was really crazy for me. There were so many people wanting to purchase shirts,” Holley said.

Despite the demand for Holley’s shirts, he wasn’t done. The last week of 2013 Holley decided to create 10 designs over seven days, resulting in the 63. He even received help from others. “A lot of friends and random strangers would post ideas on my website … and gave me some really cool ideas for T-shirts. It really helped during crunch time.”

So of the many designs, what are Holley’s favorites? The first he mentioned was his subtle homage to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with the four weapons displayed in each Turtles’ color.

“The cool thing about the shirt is that it’s kind of a ninja in and of itself,” Holley explained. “From a distance it just looks like a striped shirt, but as you get close … you see it’s the Ninja Turtles.”

All of Holley’s T-shirts are available through his website mattholleydesign.com, and most are on sale for $15.