Rodney's passion for art was ignited as a young child, when his father delighted him by drawing Disney characters for him on their living room walls! He would go on to spend endless ours outdoors, studying the local flora and fauna, picking flowers and bringing home squirrels, magpies, snakes, frogs and toads! Eventually he applied for a commercial design course at the West of England College of Art, Bristol, UK and was accepted upon presentation of a small portfolio of bird drawings in pencil. He was taught by Anthony Rossiter, a painter of English, in particular North Somerset, landscapes. Upon leaving college, he spent several years working at an advertising agency, gaining skills that would prove valuable for when he became freelance in 1970.
He exploded into the worldwide art scene in the early seventies when his fantasy images were picked up and published by the legendary Big O Posters company based in London, UK. His posters sold in millions, earning him an international reputation. Since then, he has produced over six hundred colour illustrations, most of which have been purposefully commissioned or licensed for use in various forms, from greetings cards, calendars and even snowboards to the pages of a fantasy novel or a record cover by a rock artist. Indeed his illustrations of Michael Moorcock's albino warrior Elric ensured that his name became synonymous with the saga. He has also securely established himself within the music industry having designed over 140 images that have been used as album covers by artists such as Asia, Magnum, Nazareth, Praying Mantis and Rick Wakeman.
In the 1990s Rodney realised his dream of seeing his creations come to life, when alongside the late Gerry Anderson of Thunderbirds fame, he completed Lavender Castle. The 26 episode major children's series, produced at Cosgrove Hall, incorporated stop-motion model animation and CGI. It was aired by ITV and was met with great critical claim. Then, in 2005 he was asked by the creators of the movie The Magic Roundabout, to contribute concept designs that would fire the imaginations of their animators and story-boarders. He has even broken into the field of computer game animation, supplying concept designs for computer games by Sony Psygnosis and Midway. He famously designed the original Traveller's Tales logo back in 1994 and more recently was asked by its original founder Jon Burton to create a new, but similar logo for GameHut, a behind the scenes website looking at video game development.
Rodney is an accomplished drummer, having played in his own bands since a teenager and supporting many of the legends of the music world, including, Cream, Eric Clapton's Derek and the Dominoes, Deep Purple and Gary Moore's Skid Row. He is currently working on his own album Trinity, alongside his friend Jeff Scheetz on guitar, where each track is inspired by one of his own images. The pair are joined by a host of renowned musicians including Tony Clarkin (Magnum), Pete Coleman, John Payne (Asia), Oliver Wakeman (Yes) and Rick Wakeman (Yes).
Since childhood Sarah has been passionate about studying and learning, not only for her own benefit, but for others too - her younger sister even at the age of three had endless amounts of "homework" to do! Although she loved all academic subjects at secondary school, and was particularly fond of languages, she was more than miffed when her guidance teacher told her she should study home economics and not graphic communication, apparently she would find it more useful to learn how to make a pie for her husband - she did both!
Philosopher and Linguist
Upon leaving school, a rather quiet and shy Sarah worked in administration and accounts. It would take six years for her to pluck up the courage to pursue further education. She began with an HNC in Business Administration and Information Management at the Banff and Buchan College of Further Education, Fraserburgh, UK and then, after a lot of persuasion by family and tutors, began studying at the University of Aberdeen, UK. There she was awarded the qualification of Master of Arts with Honours for her undergraduate study in Language & Linguistics and Philosophy, and a Master of Letters with Distinction for her postgraduate study in Philosophy. She also spent three years studying at doctoral level, but found that the role of tutor and lecturer that came with the responsibility, to be more enjoyable than the study itself.
Manager and Agent
Fascinated by his art and ready for a new challenge, Sarah became Rodney's manager and agent in 2015. Since then she has helped to breathe new life into Rodney Matthews Studios. Online, she created and maintains their webstore and has also introduced Rodney to the world of social media. Offline, she ensures his art can be seen in person, arranging events such as exhibitions, talks and school workshops.
Sarah has recently began fulfilling a long-time desire to be a graphic artist. She works on all of the computer generated graphics for Rodney's projects, including book and album layouts, and notably the Rodney Matthews 2019 Calendar design, for which the pair won an award at the 'The Calies' - the UK Calendar Awards.