John Mattos

  1. narrative
  2. bio
  3. work process

John Mattos has won over 100 awards for graphic excellence from various graphic magazines and design organizations including a Gold Medal from the New York Society of Illustrators, Gold from the New York Art Director’s Club and Silver from the Los Angeles Society of Illustrators. He was selected to design the United States Postal Service’s 2006 Olympic Stamp, and has two posters in the Library of Congress permanent collection. John has lectured at. UC Berkeley, Stanford, C.C.A.C., S.V.A.New York, and taught seminars at Chico State and UC Santa Cruz. He has taught Illustration & drawing at De Anza College, Academy of Art University, California College of Arts and Crafts, and holds a vocational teaching certicate from the State of California.

Client List

Allison & Busby
Town and Country
Penguin Random House
Reader’s Digest
St. Martin’s Press
The Robb Report

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a light rail system linking the East bay area with San Francisco City and Airport.The assignment was to create an image that conveyed the idea of Connection, Convenience, Ease and Economy.

I have a long, ongoing relationship with the excellent in house design dept. at BART (and their Art Consultant). After trading a few jokes and insults by phone, I provided them with 3 color sketches via email. Sketch 3 was chosen. The client asked “Why the tree?” I replied “It is a graphic conceit designed to put diverse geographic areas served by BART side by side.” after some are-you-kidding-me-eye -rolling; the client said “Lose the Tree” It was also decided that the headline was redundant and the art would be run with no type.

Next came the thoroughly enjoyable task of selecting diverse Bay Area landmarks and making a reasonable composition. I usually create a unified and complete black and white template sketch at this point but since this client knows how I work and that I’ll meet their deadline, we took a more relaxed improvisational approach. Partially finished diagrams with callouts and collage were emailed with various sarcastic cracks and suggestions back and forth.The final art is executed in Adobe Illustrator so that no quality is lost when used at various sizes.

The parrots are a reference to the wild parrots that roost behind my home on Telegraph hill, the gulls are from the Port of Oakland. I’m particularly happy with the way the Oakland Tribune building and the Port of San Francisco Clocktower fit together.

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