Showcasing the Scene: Local illustrator spotlights artists with zine

James Clay/Intern

Denton is known in part for having a large community of people involved in the arts, from music to painting to design. Many times, artists struggle to find an outlet for their talents. Spiderweb Salon, founded in June 2012, has provided Dentonites with this opportunity.

Matthew Sallack, local illustrator and CEO of his own company, is a catalyst in the Denton art scene. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in graphic design from Texas State University and earned his master’s in illustration from the Academy of Art University San Francisco.

Sallack joined Spiderweb Salon when it started and said he feels like he contributes to the group’s goal of providing a platform for unknown artists to showcase a wide variety of talents.

A typical event for Spiderweb features up to 30 artists whose talents range from spoken word, visual performances and stand up comedy. Spiderweb Salon has had events at local hot spots such as J&J’s Pizza and Dan’s Silverleaf, and hosted a show during the 35 Denton musical festival.

Matthew Sallack contributes to the Spiderweb Salon’s “zine,” a noncommercial homemade publication. Sallack feels very attached to the zine as he illustrates and produces much of the design. Each zine is produced monthly with varying themes such as a futuristic motif for the New Year.

Sallack described each contributing Spiderweb artist as one entity that feeds off each other’s strengths.

“I would not have had the same inspiration if it wasn’t for a strong creative environment that is conducive to creating good art work,” Sallack said.

Aside from his work with Spiderweb Salon, Matthew operates Otter Illustration, which showcases his artwork. He has developed his own distinct style, which he describes as whimsical surrealism. Many things inspire Sallack’s work but most of his illustrations are based on pop culture shows such as “Ninja Turtles” and “Star Wars.”

Sallack’s success with Spiderweb Salon has positively impacted his illustration work at his own business.

“Other people’s work inspires me and makes me want to contribute to make the show stronger,” Sallack said. “It’s that sense of community that surges the drive to make more art.”

While many students struggle to find out what major to declare and which career path to take, Sallack has always been sure of his line of work.

“I know it is kind of cheesy, but I really could not see myself doing anything else with my life,” he said.

His passion goes all the way back to his days in kindergarten where he remembers drawing dinosaurs with his crayon set even before he was able to write.

As successful as Sallack has been with his career in illustration there are challenges to overcome, all of which he is willing to embrace.

“If you don’t accept a challenge than you aren’t growing as an artist,” he said.

Artists are constantly looking for new opportunities to have their work seen by the public. Sallack discussed that the marketing side of the art world is what is tricky because he finds it difficult to market himself.

Sallack and other illustrators have faced huge copyright problems since the explosion of finding images online. He said it’s difficult to get credit for his work because it’s easy for other artists to steal it.

Regardless, Sallack feels it’s important to be involved with the community to do good work as an artist.

“You need to have your voice heard, so join a choir,” he said.

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