Mateusz Napieralski

Polish born, Canadian living , London loving, wonderfully talented illustrator: meet Mateusz

Tell us a little about yourself, where you live and a bit about your life at this moment in time?
My name is Mateusz, I'm a polish illustrator currently based in Toronto, Canada. I only moved to this city last year, so I'm still exploring new places, and still feel like a newbie here. I love discovering new neighbourhoods with my little pup Willow.

How long have you been an artist for? Was it something you always wanted to do?
I suppose the artist was in me my whole life, but it wasn't until 2016 when I went freelance and started pursuing my passion for art as a career. I was always drawn to digital arts and graphic design, but in my teenage years I wasn't aware that you can have a career as an illustrator. I always knew I wanted to do something creative, something design related. Once I was exposed to commercial illustrators who's work I admired, something in me "clicked" and I was on a career path towards illustration.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you do instead?
I'd like to say I'd be an architect, but that is also a form of art. Earlier on I wanted to be a fashion designer or a hair stylist. I suppose all of these paths are pointing towards art in one way or another haha.

What’s happening in your near future?
I'm currently working on a series of murals and this will carry on for the next few weeks. Once that's done I'll  have some family visiting from the UK and we're going on a little holiday together.

What has been your career highlight so far?
There is a couple that come to mind - the first one was actually my very first commission as a freelance illustrator. I was commissioned by Computer Arts Magazine to create an illustration for their inside cover. Sadly, this magazine is not in print anymore, but it was my main source of inspiration and discovery of commercial illustration in my early days. It was through that magazine that I found the work of Aries Moross and Mike Perry, who were some of my earliest influences. So naturally, being commissioned by the magazine felt very special! The second highlight would be seeing a bottle packaging I designed on a shelf in a shop. It was an amazing feeling to see a tangible object that I designed out in the wild haha!

“I suppose the artist was in me my whole life, but it wasn't until 2016 when I went freelance and started pursuing my passion for art as a career.”

What is a work tool you couldn’t live without?
My ipad! I could not imagine going back to sketchbooks, pencils and erasers. Don't get me wrong, I still love a little analog sketch here and there, but because my illustration sketches are quite detailed and I rely on geometric shapes a lot, when I was sketching in my sketchbooks I just remember my desk being always messy from all the erasing when I couldn't get those lines PERFECT! With my ipad all of these worries are gone haha!

Outside of work, who inspires you a lot?
My mum and my sister. They're both very strong, resilient and inspiring women.

What do you do when you have artist’s block?
Usually I try to relax and do something different. Perhaps a walk with my dog, maybe take a shower or do some organizing around my apartment. I find that it's in those "idle" moments my brain sort of relaxes and ideas just naturally come.

What is your favourite book or movie? Or both!
My favourite book would be "Into the magic shop" by James R. Doty. Movie? It's got to be the Lion King!

Where's your favourite place in the world? Why?
It's London. That's where I studied design, where I was immersed in and inspired by the design scene. This is where I spent my formative years as a creative, got my first job and launched my freelance career. London has been very good to me and I'll always feel a lot of gratitude for this city :)

“London has been very good to me and I'll always feel a lot of gratitude for this city.”

Tell us a memory you carry with you everywhere:
Seeing my dad play with my dog.

What do you do to relax and have fun away from your work?
I love podcasts, magazines, embroidery, drinking all the coffee and eating all the pastries in coffee shops around the city. I'd say the last one is probably my favourite haha!

Do you have any interesting projects or exhibitions coming up?
Yes! I really look forward to seeing how all the murals that I'm currently working on will come together. It's a series of multiple murals and each of them is almost its own little world. I can't wait to see how they all turn out!

Finally, who is your favourite artist and why?
Sorry, I couldn't narrow it down to one, so let's go with 2 - Janine Rewell and Hedof. Both of these guys are my endless inspiration. I love their bold styles and how they apply it into commercial realms. Pure gold!