Posted Feb 20th 2012 by

Lead image

An interview with
Alex Matherswords by , February 2012

We welcome to TC the very intellectual and charming geographer, Alex Mathers. Sharing with us his vast wealth of knowledge on Biogeography, Climatology, Meteorology, Environmental management and … wait wait, sorry, that was his previous studies. He will in actual fact be sharing with us his illustration and self promotional wisdom, experience and other valuable advice. In his spare time he’s educating people on all things Illustration, from the ‘pretty’ aesthetic side of things with Ape on the Moon, to the ‘businessy’ side (that we hate but need to know) with Red Lemon Club. We caught up with him for a little insight in to his busy lifestyle and find out some details about his recently launched The Freelancer’s Guide to Google+ Mastery

Hello Alex, welcome to “Thunder Chunky”, Thanks for being here!!!! How are you today?

Thanks for having me! I’m doing just great despite the bracingly cold weather out there.

For those who don’t know you, please tell us a bit about yourself in 3 easy-to-follow steps.

Wow, I’ve never been asked to describe myself in steps before, but here goes:

I currently keep myself busy as an illustrator and I do some writing, mainly for my site for creative freelancers, Red Lemon Club.

I did a degree in geography before deciding to work as an illustrator. Perhaps some of the geography rubbed off on my work, which focuses a great deal on the environment and the urban world.

I’m a fan of volcanoes, illustration, graphic novels, animated films, electronic music, tennis, and all things Japan. Perhaps it’s just a phase, but I decided to move to Tokyo, which is happening in March this year, so I’m very excited!

Alex Mathers 01

Alex Mathers 01

You run the extremely successful inspiration site Ape on the Moon, and Red Lemon Club a guide for creative freelancers. Please tell us a little about when you first established these sites and what you hoped to achieve.

I started Ape on the Moon about three years ago (Feb 2009) as a means to share what I loved in the illustration world with others, and as a cheeky way to get my own artwork out there, though I never featured my own work at all in the end. I have plans to redesign Ape on the Moon soon, and build in a network for people to track artists, and possibly a shop selling original contemporary art.

Red Lemon Club is just over two years old (Oct 2009) and was started as a platform to promote a book I wrote on promoting oneself as a creative using the Internet. The blog followed and I’ve kept it going as a place to share useful information for creative freelancers.

Alex Mathers 02

Alex Mathers 02

Alex Mathers 03

Alex Mathers 03

You have written many comprehensive e-books and handy guides for freelancers already. Your latest guide tackles Google’s social networking platform Google+. Can you tell us a little about this course and what people can expect from it?

The Freelancer’s Guide to Google+ Mastery. is a 3-part course for freelancers and small businesses looking to expand their professional networks online, and to land more jobs, with better clients, more frequently.

After Google’s social network came out I saw huge potential in it, and set to work creating something that would be relevant to individuals and smaller entities of people wanting to use it in a way that would really help with their careers.

What the course will tell you is how to best position yourself, use its tools and engage with Google+ most effectively in order to do this, and it’s already received a great deal of positive feedback.

Google plus

Google plus guide (illustration by Dan Matutina)

Would you say that Google+ is much more effective for self promotion and networking than rival sites, like Facebook, Twitter, etc? or could they work in harmony?

I would say that Google+ is definitely the best place for self promotion and networking for the purpose of attracting clients and winning new work. The network is much better suited to online networking in this way than somewhere like Facebook, which is much more focused on friendships and personal relationships. LinkedIn is a great place to have your online CV and make contacts, but is poor for actually engaging online and developing professional relationships.

Sites like Twitter and LinkedIn are great compliments to Google+, however, though it is possible to operate most of your online professional activity through Google+.

Who/What has influenced your work, during your childhood, and now? And is there anyone you would really love to work with in the future?

I was really into animated stuff like Tom and Jerry, the Flintstones, a bit of early Disney, Ren and Stimpy, and got a lot of exposure to illustrators like Maurice Sendak, Ronald Searle and Quentin Blake as a kid which I suppose got me interested in animation and illustration.

I think the stuff that really influenced my current style could stretch from older artists like Shag, and even Edward Hopper and Wayne Thiebaud, to illustrators like Russell Tate and Simon Oxley.

I’d love to create an animated film with Dan Matutina in the future, who did the artwork for the Google+ course, as well as the art for a previous venture to promote the work of illustrators, Lunarize.

Alex Mathers 04

Alex Mathers 04

What music is usually playing when you are hard at work?

I listen to a lot of electronic music and a heck of a lot of movie soundtrack music, though I do like all kinds.

I find a lot of stuff by composers Thomas Newman and Clint Mansell is great to work to, including stuff from Trent Reznor and Atticus Rose. ‘Plaid’ is probably my favourite electronic band, and I’m really enjoying the work of Tokyo-born ‘Anchorsong’ at the moment.

Alex Mathers 05

Alex Mathers 05

Alex Mathers 06

Alex Mathers 06

If you weren’t in the creative industry, what other profession do you think you would be doing?

I would have liked to be an architect or possibly working in property development!

Have you seen any up and coming talents that we should keep an eye out for?

There’s so much out there, and I think the industry is moving in such a way so that no one in particular will stand out that much, but in the visual arts world, I would keep an eye on Jordan Speer, Victo Ngai, and Monika Aichelle, though there are so so many.

Finally, what’s the one thing that everybody should do today?

My recommendation, which is something I rarely do, is to meditate for fifteen minutes. It will do wonders for your sense of peace and creativity!

So, just to recap – if you want to learn about how to use Google+ more effectively, go to Alex’s The Freelancer’s Guide to Google+ Mastery. Check out more of Alex’s work on his website and illustration lovers make sure to explore Ape on the Moon. Finally, the ultimate resource for a successful freelance career, Red Lemon Club.


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