Matt Sav is a name you might have heard before, and if you haven’t now’s the time to pay attention. Based in Fremantle, Matt is a multidisciplinary artist working with photography, design, and video. And although his skills are broad, his style is wonderfully refined.
You’d probably know his work from his role as go-to photographer/creative director for the Perth Tame Impala/POND circle of artists – he’s taken iconic photos of Kevin Parker and Nick Allbrook, album covers for GUM and directed video clips for POND, amongst a bunch of projects for some of your others favourite artists (MOSSY, Jack River, San Cisco, just to name a few).
Everything he does is magnificent, whether it’s a promo clip for an album or the design consultation for a project called “Ecosexual Bathhouse”, and we highly recommend clearing your schedule for the next hour to read our chat with him below and check out his website to browse some of his work. Actually, better make it two.
Matt Sav featured some of his work in issue #8 of Happy Mag, our very first photo issue. Check it out.
We take 5 with the magnificent Matt Sav, chatting about his workspace in Fremantle, juggling isolation and intimacy, and the long list of local creatives he loves.
HAPPY: What’s your creative space like? How does it influence your work?
MATT: I work in a studio with my producer, Rachael, and now our intern Nicole who is an amazing photographer in her own right. It’s small, we work from the same desk, but it is great. We have a lot of fun in there. Probably too much fun.
It has a lot of natural light and is on the first floor above a big beautiful art gallery in Fremantle. We have all our costumes from past shoots hanging up on the wall to re-use and a bunch of real and fake plants and a tiny stage in the corner. We have a heap of props around like a fake baby and an orange sequin hat, lots of fabric and a few pieces of particularly average photography gear. I have a few small pieces of memorabilia stuck on the wall above my desk, mainly things given to me from friends and past lovers. It influences my work greatly.
I go for a lot of walks around the West End of Fremantle and walk through the docks and along the beach at lunchtime when I need to think and breathe. The cool ocean air is good for my collapsible lungs and the sun good for my psoriasis.
HAPPY: How would you say your style has developed over time?
MATT: It has become more considered.
HAPPY: Where do you draw inspiration from? Does this change between projects?
MATT: I draw inspiration from my own experiences, as well as the giant archive in the sky. I realised recently that most of my work explores either isolation, intimacy or both. I suppose I see them as very similar states almost like love and hate. It does change between projects. Sometimes I will draw directly from my subjects own influence and work with them towards a common goal. But generally, even if I don’t tell them, I will be referencing something from my own life too.
HAPPY: How do you personally define success as an artist?
MATT: Having the autonomy to live and explore the world on your own terms.
HAPPY: What are you working on now?
MATT: A short documentary about the last neon bending apprentice in WA called Quality Time, which is showing at the Revelation Film Festival in Perth.
HAPPY: Who are some locals artists that you love that we should check out?
Benjamin Witt (music)
Hame DJ (music)
Basic Mind (music)
Nicolee Fox (photographer)
Rabbit Island (music)
Pony Express (artists)
Baby Kool (music)
Eleventeen Eston (music)
Boy Name Girl Name (performance artist)
Tyrone Robinson (performance artist / dancer)
Jacinta Larcombe (performance artist / dancer)
Sophia Natale (dancer / photographer)
Adriane Daff (theatre maker, writer, performer)
Delimates / Sally Bower (artist / maker)
Many Peaks Assembly (artist / maker)
Burundi Peace Choir (music)
Target Archery (music)
Stevie Cruz-Martin (director)
Frances Elliot (director, writer, editor)
Lewis Potts (DOP)
Jesse Lee Johns (artist)
Patrick Doherty (artist)
Lower Spectrum (musician)
James Whineray (photographer)
Sacred Flower Union (music)
Mummys Plastic / Rose KB (creative producer)
Sarah Rowbottom (creative producer)
Luna Laure (director)
Traianos Pakioufakis (photographer)
Julian Frichot (photographer)
Zoe Pepper (director)
Tarryn Gill (artist)
I wish I could just go on and on here, there are so many incredible artists in Perth that I have so much love and respect for. I would also like to note that so many of these people also have second jobs or even other full-time careers. From being amazing teachers, to outdoor ed camp leaders, to visual merchandisers, to mums, and dads. I am always in awe of anyone who commits to creative output in Perth. It is often such a huge tax on one’s own stability to choose this path, and people don’t usually see that side of it.