An Army brat born in Germany and raised in Texas, videographer and graphic artist Dwight Mathis made his Florida debut producing TV shows at Ion Television in 2017.
Now, the Austin-area native is running his downtown St. Petersburg film studio, Normal Network, full time.
After his immersion in the world of television as a producer on the two-season drama, “Full Disclosure,” the 33-year-old left the industry a little less bright eyed and bushy tailed than he arrived.
“I always wanted to work on TV, and I was just stoked to be there,” Mathis said. “I learned that there is a lot of politics in the industry, and I wanted to have more freedom with my content.”
The content has been freed.
Mathis’s work is typically simple concepts built with heightening layers of ridiculous outcomes: a man physically fighting the heat and causing a blizzard after complaining about the temperature; Cinderella’s prince wearing her glass slippers instead of finding the princess; a cartoon with edges of reality in the animation.
“I was stoked to come to Florida, mainly because I didn’t know where life was going,” Mathis said. “I had a feeling this was the right track.”
Mathis lived in Texas for 11 years, learning the ropes of animation and film.
“I shot everything for like three years – horrible rap videos, commercials for local businesses, anything to pay the rent,” Mathis said. “Funny thing is, I watched ION television shows religiously during that period.”
The artist moved to Florida not only to be an associate producer, but to be closer to his mother in Riverview, a far out suburb of Tampa.
His father was in the U.S. Army, and his mother was an artistic Korean woman; the two met in a bar.
Mathis grew up watching his mother paint and draw and, while he didn’t excel in athletics like his two older brothers, his homemade Dragon Ball Z comics were a hit with other students when the family moved to Texas.
“It’s weird. Through drawing, I established myself,” Mathis said. “That’s the way I made friends in ninth grade.”
Decades later, Mathis is creating human characters with blown out features, wavy backgrounds with bright colors that resemble real life, always with a twist.
“I dropped out of school at 22, but I stuck with drawing,” Mathis said. “My design brain really developed and that helped when I went back into animation.”
Maybe his current work isn’t so far off from those early Dragon Ball Z sketches; punchy, animated characters have remained a staple in his creations.
“It started with me drawing and recreating characters,” Mathis said. “I’m definitely more creative now, I’ve met people and learned this symbiotic way of creating.”
Follow Mathis’ creations at fb.com/normal.network.