St. Charles Herald-Guide

Local graphic artist gains national attention

By M. Susanne Hinkle - April 19, 2006

As a young adult, when Matt Touchard was planning for his future, he realized early on that the only profession that made any sense to him would involve the creative arts. Whether he was involved in art, music, sculpting or writing, he knew that he would make a career out of using the right side of his brain.

Now a successful graphic artist and writer, Touchard is likely best known to local residents as a talented graphic designer. He is responsible for much of the artwork showcased throughout the parish representing local organizations, charities and recently he designed a poster and sculpture for R.K. Smith Middle School. At the tender age of eight, his drawing of an alligator won his first judged competition and Matt has been making his mark on the art community ever sense.

"There really wasn't a career option for students interested in the creative arts when I was in high school. People saw the arts as something you do for a hobby not a career," said Touchard. "I knew at an early age that I didn't want a typical job," he continued.
After spending three years as a pharmacy major, in the spring of 1980, Touchard accepted a full legislative scholarship to the prestigious Universite Paul Valery in Montpellier, France, studying art and French. ”Being in France really opened my eyes to the creative arts. The whole artistic atmosphere is different there, it is respected,” said Touchard. Following his studies in France, the artist continued his studies in Lausanne, Switzerland at the L'Institut Richelieu with private instructors. Matt returned home and graduated with honors in 1983 with a degree in graphic design from Nicholls State University.

“I went to 26 job interviews, I couldn’t find anything,” said Touchard. Later, Touchard's artistic career started right here at home. His first job was working for a New Orleans container company designing and illustrating Mardi Gras throw cups. Matt later became determined to find a job that tested his creative ability. After a short stint in Reno, Nevada, Touchard returned to southeast Louisiana where he continued his art work for several agencies where his work was used by Coca-Cola and MTV among others.
Touchard later grew tired of producing the same types of artwork and began doing free-lance artwork for a local daiquiri shop. The work he produced for the shop won him several ADDY awards. Those awards led other companies looking for a fresh left-of-center brand of artwork. In June 1990, Touchard's design company, Zermatt, was born.
Since Touchard's beginnings as a graphic artist in advertising, his company began to grow considerably. “My break out client was Barq's Root Beer,” said Touchard. Matt's designs for Barq’s Root Beer won him numerous Gold Addy awards, the CLIO award and the nation's top award for Best National Advertising Promotion of the Year. In addition, the graphic artist won two Pelican Awards for the best Medical/Healthcare Advertising in the state. In January 2002, Touchard won six American Graphic Design USA awards in New York. The artist also received awards for work he designed for Cirque du Soleil and Cirque du Monde, among others.

Later in his career, Touchard became interested in television. The talented artist wrote and directed four TV spots for Scandinavia Furniture which went on to nab him "Best TV Campaign of the Year" honors along with four Gold ADDYs at the 17th District ADDY Awards held in New Orleans. Later that year, Touchard was named Creative Director for legendary, four-time Grammy winning rocker, Pat Benatar. Since 2003, Touchard has been responsible for all concept, art direction, design, and execution of her CD's, DVD's, tour materials, videos and marketing. "Matt must be Louisiana's best kept secret. We were so lucky to find him. Matt's design acumen is equitable with any of the big West Coast and NY firms; he understands style, global markets and the bottomline and he's so fun to work with! Project after project, he's brilliant; he rocks!" said rock artist Pat Benatar.

Most recently, Touchard was named as one of New Orleans Magazine’s “People to Watch for 2005 and also named as a person to watch in 2006 by Graphic Design USA Magazine out of New York City. With Touchard’s talent and respect for all facets of the creative arts, all eyes will be on this talented artist as his empire continues to grow beyond his humble beginnings in St. Charles Parish to conquer the national and global art scene.

Matt Touchard was named Person to Watch for 2006 by Graphic Design USA magazine out of New York City.
Matt Touchard was named Person to Watch for 2006 by Graphic Design USA magazine out of New York City.