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Niners Nation Instagram hit 15K

So we teamed up with Matt Sharpe to give away a sick Steve Young poster.

Matt Sharpe :

The 49ers Faithful are amazing, but you already knew that. That’s why for the last year or so Niners Nation put together a team to build up an Instagram page. There is just so much love for this team and various underlining aspects of the team for each individual fan out there that drive collectively dubs us to be the Faithful.

We wanted to bring you all the content of this great team, from game day to off-the-field efforts, but it evolved into so much more. When Fooch brought the squad and me on board to build this up, we were at about 138 (give or take) followers. Next month will be the first anniversary, and we have already hit over 15 thousand followers.

Seriously we couldn’t have done it without the awesome fans out there and of course the awesome support of the organization itself. We partnered with the crazy talented Matt Sharpe and rolled out a 15K giveaway of a 16x20 poster of the legendary Steve Young.

To follow things up, after we announced the giveaway, Matt dropped the fire on this:

Coincidentally enough a few days later, at the annual 49ers State of the Franchise, the team announced they had given Joe Staley a two-year contract extension (you can read about the recap of the State of the Franchise here), basically making him a 49er for life.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank Matt for giving one lucky Niners Nation fan out there this poster to jazz up their living space with all the glory that is Jon Steven Young. Matt does some excellent stuff of players from all around the NFL. But in my humble opinion, his 49ers stuff is by far the best. Get to know more about Matt after the jump.

NN: What initially made you want to become a graphic designer? How long have you been creating digital art?

MS: You remember in high school when the weekend would roll around, and everyone would hit up whatever party went down that Friday or Saturday night? Well, I didn’t. :)

I would legit be at home on my 486DX computer, building websites and experimenting with Photoshop. Those nights set a foundation for nearly two decades of self-study and production of digital art that followed.

NN: How long does it take you to go from concept to a finished piece? How would you describe your approach?

MS: It varies entirely by the piece and the concept presented. For client work, the art will span hours as I try to lock into the finest details making up compositions spanning sizes ranging from trading cards to 90-foot banners.

For personal projects - like on my design blog, where I try to post new pieces near-daily - I attempt to cap time spent in the 45-60 minute region. While that’s typically the maximum amount of time my schedule will allow, it also forces me to become more efficient in the workflow when experimenting with new approaches.

NN: What are the tools of the trade that you use the most?

MS: Adobe Photoshop is the layup answer - it’s a daily staple - but I think the more surprising response might be that all of my work is done on a 13.3” late-2013 MacBook Pro. No stylus, no monitor, no mouse... everything from social media graphics to stadium banners have been produced on the keyboard and trackpad of my trusted sidekick.

NN: What are some favorite projects you’ve completed and, why?

MS: I’ve had the privilege of working with a range of tremendous groups - from the Toronto Maple Leafs to NBC’s Sunday Night Football - but the canvases produced for signings involving players like Steph Curry, Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Eli Manning, and more (via Armori Steele) have been incredibly rewarding experiences.

Additionally, as a massive fan of the sports card industry, being able to work with companies like Topps on new creative was so much fun.

NN: What advice would you give to up and coming digital artists?/what’s the best piece of advice you have heard and repeat to others?

MS: I’m asked this question a ton - and the answer is always the same:

Devour YouTube tutorials on your choice of software or techniques, and make something new every day to share. If you can do this for, say, a year, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ll come from a skills standpoint (and the audience you’ve built along the way).

NN: Do you think online design resources have influenced the graphic design being produced in today’s age?

MS: Without question, yes. The barrier for entry has never been lower, and the amount of free resources available that used to be gated by institutions/reference books is incredible.

I love that 17-year-old designers who have built an incredible skill set based solely on self-study and time invested. The quality of content being produced at scale has never been higher, and it forces everyone to work harder to meet that rising benchmark.

NN: Have you met any of the players you’ve done the awesome work for yet? If not, who out of all the people you have made pieces of, would you want to meet the most?

MS: You know I haven’t, but I think with social media now it’s not something I feel like I’m missing. The fact that I can be sitting in my home or office and casually DM with players like Mark Ingram, Dont’a Hightower, or Denzel Ward is incredible to me. That type of access wasn’t possible years ago, and the removal of gatekeepers has been a fascinating development.

NN: What are you passionate about besides your work?

MS: Family... and that’s pretty much it. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful wife and three incredible children, and they have my full attention beyond work hours. Everything else I do - from the gym to reading, to watching movies - is designed to keep me as balanced as possible in focusing on those two parts of my life.