Everyone remembers that kid from school who was always drawing monsters and super heroes. Everyone knew he was the go-to-guy for information about any movie or television show. Matthew Atchely was that kid.
WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE
After graduating high school, he stopped drawing and turned his attention toward Television and Film Production at Middle Tennessee State University. After more than a decade of tirelessly working dead-end button pushing jobs for local television stations, his wife Erin Achtley asked, “Have you ever considered that if you worked as hard for yourself as you have for everyone else, you would be a mad success? Quit getting used at these dead end jobs. Instead, start working on your art again.”
In 2009, Matthew began creating a comic based art portfolio. Erin says, “We were sitting at home one night when I discussed the artists’ portfolio review at Comic Con San Diego (the grandfather of ALL comic conventions). Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Lego comics were all going to be there. I told Matt about the review, and I could tell even the idea of attending Comic Con seemed like a far away hope to him, so I set my alarm the following Saturday, got up early to catch tickets the moment they went on sale, then presented them to him as an early Christmas gift. Matt and I have been attending every year since then, and we are both always so amazed at the doors that have been opened ever since we took that leap of faith four years ago.”
TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS
In 2010, Atchley created Hot Spot Studios, made his work available on Etsy, and began networking at cosplay conventions. So far this year, he has attended 3 expos, and fans have purchased all of his inventory at each show. At another Comic Con portfolio review, his work caught the eye of a Dark Horse Comics representative, and Atchley has been submitting art samples to the company. “This has been a chance for me to meet so many of my heroes. I was fortunate to have Todd McFarlane (creator of Spawn and co-founder of Image Comics) sign my portfolio. When he opened it up he thought I had one of his own pieces displayed in my first page sleeve. I had never been so honored as an artist. It’s special times like those that build a artist’s career. It’s all about skill, networking, and word of mouth.”
I LOVE THE DEAD
On November 4, Atchley will return to Atlanta for the Walker Stalker convention where he will be reunited with cast members of The Walking Dead. At a previous convention, Atchley gifted Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes) with a color portrait. Atchley says, “Chandler is so nice. He wanted to give me a bunch of autographed photos in return, and I told him I didn’t want anything. I just wanted him to have the gift.”
IronE Simgleton (T-Bone) saw Atchley’s drawing and requested a portrait.
Atchley will also present a gift portrait to Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) at the Walker Stalker convention.
Atchley has met Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) several times. “A man bought one of my drawings of Reedus at the FanBoy Expo in Knoxville. Three months later that customer commissioned a drawing of Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage,” says Atchley.
“I’m also interested in freelance commercial and advertising work,” says Atchley. “Right now I’m working on a commission for a couple’s engagement portrait. They will be drawn in the style of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer. My work has also appeared on flyers for a Kentucky 5K Race, and on the cover of one of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild’s youth anthologies. I won’t give up on this business. I will do what it takes til the end.”
Cover photo by: Julie Stropp.
© Debra Dylan, 2013.