How Matt McCormick Went from Tattooing Tyler the Creator to Making Fine Art

“It’s all based around getting to this place of mental freedom.”

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Arts 
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HYPEBEAST Magazine Issue 26: The Rhythms Issue features diverse stories of creatives who must work at their own pace in a world that has lost touch with its connection to nature. LA-based artist Matt McCormick, who designed the cover artwork for the issue, evokes this struggle to reconnect through his paintings of American heroes and cowboys. “It’s kind of like painting the world that I want to live in,” says McCormick. “It’s all based around getting to this place of mental freedom; it’s a series of so many pieces to get to that feeling of the quietness which for several years I took the shortcut with the drugs to do that…This is my way to feel at peace.”

When his career progressed beyond being a celebrity tattoo artist, McCormick’s style reflected his interest in classic American icons and the environments they inhabited. Far from a surface-level portrayal of these Old West figures, the artist’s personal experiences with substance abuse constantly impact his work. “I’m sober for a reason. I was a heroin addict for several years and the thing with heroin, and you know opiates and all that, in general, is that the state quiets everything … the reason I bring that up is because of the feeling that I’m chasing with all these different pieces,” he says.

We connected with McCormick at his studio in Downtown Los Angeles for the latest installment of HYPEBEAST Impressions. Watch the video above to see the entire visit with the artist.

Get to know more about unique contemporary artists beyond their artworks by checking out our HYPEBEAST Impressions series.

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