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Rising Stars: Meet Matthew Bradley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Bradley.

Hi Matthew, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I was first introduced to Photoshop and the Adobe products when I was in year 7, so I was around 13 years old. My school made us do a design class where we made logos and other products. I was instantly hooked into that class, I am not good at maths and I found subjects like English and Science boring. I did take art but I was really intrigued on making art digitally. After a few design classes where they taught us the basics, I took it upon myself to learn more about the tools and different techniques that my teachers weren’t teaching us. It was my goal to be the best at Photoshop in my year level. I would spend almost every day trying to create something, whether it was good or bad I still had fun doing it. I have been a basketball fan for basically my whole life, so I started making edits and artworks of NBA players.

After showing a few of my friends the work I was making they showed me full support and recommended to share it online to reach more people. Growing my Instagram page took a long time, but I knew that I had to be patient and that growth would happen eventually as long as I stayed committed. Roughly a few years later I was editing one day and I felt like everything I was doing in Photoshop just clicked, it felt like I had figured out a technique that worked for me and the work at the time looked like my best by far. After that point more and more people started following me and showing support, it was still a slow growth compared to other creators on the platform, but I knew deep in me that I can’t stop now and that I could only go up from there.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My time creating has been pretty smooth, but I have experienced a few struggles over the years. The main one that I consider to be my most important challenge in my years of creating was figuring out what my style and identity I wanted to have for my work. I had been very familiar with photoshop, I knew what tools did what and how to use them effectively. But I had a realization that the work I was posting didn’t stick to a specific theme. Famous artists around the world and throughout history all had a style or a way of creating that defined them. Their use of shapes, colour, composition and so on is what made them different and unique from other artworks/artists. At the time it looked like my page had a whole bunch of different art styles. I thought that if I wanted more people to see my work, I needed to figure out what style best suits me and how do I want to identify myself to the public. This was a process that took a long time, but one upside of being in lockdown for a long time is that I had a lot of time to figure things out. Once I knew what my style was, I felt like I reached more people quicker. Another challenge that I had to overcome was to fix my mindset and mentality towards editing. What I mean by this is that when I posted I always got obsessed about how many likes the post got or how many people I reached. It got to a point where I was addicted to checking the amount of likes on a post every few minutes. I had to change my mindset because I felt it was unhealthy for me to be so obsessed with reaching a certain number. I shifted my mindset to only start caring about the quality of work I was making. If I felt the artwork was the best it could be I would post it, but if I feel like I could have done better or it doesn’t fit my identity then I would start again. And moving on with that mindset I feel like my quality of work has improved a lot and started getting more attention.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a digital artist/creator that makes sports artwork and graphics, primarily I do work on NBA players and I use the adobe products to do my work. I have been posting my work to my Instagram page for around four years and I still consider it a fun hobby. I do enjoy making artworks which is why I feel like I’ve been able to keep posting for as long as I’ve had, I put myself first in this, not worrying about what numbers or results I get from a post but to just enjoy myself and have fun doing what I’m good at. One of the things that I am most proud of is that I had the opportunity to do an edit for the “Wilson Basketball” Instagram page. Even though I’m not officially working for them it still felt amazing working with them and getting recognition from a popular brand/company. What sets me apart from others is what I mentioned before, I don’t focus on numbers and I don’t think of people based on how many followers or likes they get. There are so many creators and artists out there that produce such amazing work but don’t get a lot of recognition, I was a person like that for a while, but I kept telling myself that if I want to be doing this long term I have to focus on my mindset towards it. Not doing it to get a lot of recognition, but because I have fun doing it and I enjoy the process of making and creating.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
I was not a great student in high school. But when I say that I mean I was nice to all of my teachers, never skipped class and tried my best at everything. But when I got my final results after finishing high school they were not great. I tried to follow a study plan and tried to do it as much preparation as I could but in the end, I didn’t get the result I was aiming for. In the moment I felt terrible, I had tried so hard but didn’t do well. But after telling my parents my results they weren’t mad, they told me they were still proud of me because they knew how much I tried to get better. Later on when University offers were starting to come out I got an offer to do a graphic design course, so in the end I still ended up where I wanted to be. It taught me that just doing your best is enough and is what anyone can ask of you.

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