About Matthew Willems
Here is some background info...
It's amazing how you can fit a whole life in less than a single web page. Oh well, needless to say this is just a very brief overview. I have worked in numerous other fields - alomost like a pinball - rebound from one job to another, and go completely in a tangenital direction!
Born 1970 and brunged up in Sussex on the (sunny?) South Coast of England, living by the sea for most of that time. Throughout my life I have always been creative regardless of activity, enjoying the gift to draw, paint, design and make things. Whatever my interest, hobby, or work, I would find a way to incorporate some form of creativity. In conjunction with devolping an interest in art I have been attracted to calligraphy/typography and feel inspired by such artists as Tom Phillips.
Over the years (decades says my daughter, Lauren) I have been greatly influenced by many different artists, covering a wide range of styles, techniques and materials which has helped give me a sound practical foundation. About the only media I have never used is oil painted on canvas with a brush - anything and everything but!
Musically (having done the obligatory ‘giving it a bash at school’ with the violin and recorder), I progressed in college to learning 4 guitar chords and two bass riffs! I started playing the drums, and spent a few months in a band with some friends but unfortunately I didn’t stick at it - then.
All this changed as teens turned into twenties, and push-bike changed into (several) motorbikes demanding ever more of my time (and money!). It didn’t take long before I started to paint petrol tanks and build my own motorbikes. College was especially usefull as I was able to utilise their equipment and machinery which was not only cheaper but taught a whole new range of skills.
Life took a turn again (funny how it does that), in my mid twenties as I fell in love, married, had children, and bought a house. No more taking it easy, laid back attitude, now I had a purpose. I worked in the retail sector, running a shoe shop before getting into electrical goods managing a branch of Radio Rentals for several years.
This didn’t last and by 2000 the marriage was over and I had returned to Sussex having moved to Devon with my then wife for a new start. My life sort of fell apart, I felt as if I had lost everything. Getting myself back on track I decided to try a change of career – the police. Don’t ask why but I did have numerous reasons. This went well for several years, however the artistic side of me was very much put on the back burner, as it was quite a challenge learning enough to become a good police officer.
In 2005, out of the blue, I met a great chap called Nick Burman (a very competant professional didgeridoo player) at Sidmouth Folk Festival, whilst with my daughter getting her hair braided. I had a half hour lesson with him, learning to play the didge, ended up hooked, and came away with a CD and plastic pipe (and I still have it).
The police decided they did not like the didgeridoo and told me I was not allowed to do it – suggesting I should spend my spare time studying for the job! They subsequently bullied, persecuted and threatened me!! Ultimately in December 2007 I decided I could no longer work for an employer that acted both unlawfully and acted, as I see it, unprofessionally with complete lack of regard or respect for either the public or its employees.
This unexpected encounter with the didgeridoo started off a journey I am still on. The interest turned into a hobby then a more serious hobby and very quickly I started to make didgeridoos both out of wood and plastic. People liked what I made and as I could always make another didgeridoo, why not pass the didge on and share! The journey has been fun so far :-)
My goals now are to use all my life experiences so far, combined with new experiences, primarily through the didgeridoo, and share what I can to whoever I can. This website is a reflection of one part of this new journey. I’m not aiming to be rich financially, but do want to be able to support myself and earn an honest living at what I do - it is the satisfaction I derive from what I am now doing that gives me the passion, enthusiasm and motivation - and best of all, being able to share it gives greater pleasure than money ever could.
Usual stuff at school (but could have done better!), though I did go to college for a few years:
- Graphic Design
- Three Dimensional Design
There's more but I'm sure you get the drift
- Police Officer
- Retail management (various industries)