Matthew King

Graphic & Web Design

The Art Institute of Phoenix


I see no reason that I have to 'follow the rules' so I fearlessly integrate my digital work with traditional techniques. Matthew King , Instructor , The Art Institute of Phoenix
What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

My educational and career choices have been very organic. One interest led to another. I started college in NYC studying the social implications of technology and became interested in knowing more about the art I saw at museums. I took some painting and glassblowing classes and became interested in craft and fabrication. I switched to a different college and earned a degree in product design, which is at the intersection of art and science—embedding objects with meaning and beauty while studying their purpose and always focusing on their functionality.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

I am fearless. In addition to graphic design, I’ve worked in theatrical fabrication and environmental design. I have a strong traditional woodworking background and have done lots of metal fabrication. I’ve blown glass, thrown pottery and I am familiar with mold making. I’ve worked professionally as a draftsman and CNC machinery operator/programmer. With this diverse set of skills, I am not afraid to “think outside the box” and try new techniques. I like to challenge the role of graphic designer as the maker of websites, posters and logos. I see no reason that I have to “follow the rules” so I fearlessly integrate my digital work with traditional techniques including collage, photography, transfer lettering, manual typewriters, and printmaking. Over the last few years I have been experimenting with the use of projectors and projection mapping at events for local museums. 

Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

I feel that I am at my best when I teach spontaneously because I am reacting to the needs of the students in the classroom. I think I am best at this when teaching a class I have taught many times before. I’ve taught our Image Manipulation class for 14 years. I haven’t taught any lesson in that class the same way twice. A side benefit of this approach is the class remains fresh for me. I’m still not bored of the subject matter and it’s exciting to me to see what my students can do. 

What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

I worked collaboratively with students from the Graphic Design and Fashion Marketing departments on multi-projector installations at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in 2012 and 2013. These projects have been very exciting (and high pressure!) which has encouraged everyone to put in their best work and stay up late getting the project done.  

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

I’m very focused on technical skills and craft. I’m interested in how to make things. I enjoy the process of learning, mastering and sharing technical skills.