Who the Smurf is Matt. Murray?

Matthew C. (Matt.) Murray earned his BFA in film, television and radio production from NYU, where he also studied the history of animation under noted scholar Jerry Beck. At the age of 30, Murray was elected president and was hired as the first executive director of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art where, among other projects, he curated an exhibit on the history and impact of Saturday morning cartoons and crafted events and programming such as the year-long retrospective 1986: The Year That Changed Comics. He left MoCCA in June, 2008 and founded the Sequential Art Collective, an organization with the belief that comics, cartoons, illustration and animation are important art forms worthy of serious study and promotion.

Although he adored The Smurfs animated series as a child, Murray lost his connection as he got older - until he was tasked with curating the 2006 exhibit Saturday Morning: Art and Artifacts From a Golden Age of Television.  During the research process for that show, he amassed enough information on the Smurfs to prepare a lecture he entitled "Smurfology 101" which he used to introduce a 30th anniversary screening of The Smurfs and the Magic Flute at MoCCA.   He jokingly billed himself as a "Smurfologist" and decided to run with the title from there.

At the 2006 "Smurfology 101" MoCCA lecture.

In 2007, he was contacted by New Wave Media about participating in the special features for the DVDs of Hanna-Barbera's Smurfs cartoon.  Besides lending the producers his notes on the history of the property, he was interviewed for the documentary "I Smurf the Smurfs" which can be found on The Smurfs: Season One, Volume 2.  Murray is currently the "Smurf Consultant" on Papercutz' series of Smurfs graphic novels which began to see publication in the Fall of 2010.

With Veronique Culliford in November 2010.
Perhaps his crowning achievement as a Smurfologist, came that same fall when Murray was contracted to write The World of Smurfs, a comprehensive look at the 50+ year history of the property, from the blue gnomes' debut as supporting characters in the Belgian comics series Johan et Pirlouit to the stars of their own live-action/animation hybrid film from Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation.  Packaged by beckerandmeyer! and published by Abrams in July 2011, the book was overseen by LaFig Belgium and Veronique Culliford, the daughter of the Smurfs' creator, Peyo.

In addition to his Smurfology work, Murray is an occasional pop culture blogger and a collector of original comic, cartoon and animation artwork.  He lives in Bethlehem, PA with his cat who is not named Azrael.

You can contact him at smurfologist@gmail.com