Meet Artist & Designer Matt W. Moore
Matt Moore (@mwm_graphics) works to the mantra ‘range is conducive to growth.’ Matt’s background was in action board sports and the action art of graffiti, each with their core value of speed, do-it-yourself ethic, enthusiasm for new terrain, and sheer fun of collaboration. Over the past decade, he has applied those principles to his bold, graphic aesthetic in media both analog and digital, for projects both personal and commercial.
Interviewer Alexi Ueltzen (@alexi) is Ello’s Social Media & Email Manager. If she’s not at the office, she’s probably swimming, getting muddy with her dogs, or baking cookies. The best cookies.
Let’s start out by giving our readers a brief background of your work. Tell us a little bit about how you got started as an artist.
As a kid, I was always drawing and painting. I have known all along this was my path. Both of my parents are talented artists and I am grateful for their constant encouragement to follow my dreams. In college, my initial focus was more towards painting and illustration. After a couple years there I began exploring computer programs, especially Adobe Illustrator, and this really opened up a whole new world of possibilities. I shifted my studies towards Graphic Design and kept much of my personal work unplugged, painting on canvas, graffiti, and murals on walls. Since then I have continued to learn, explore, and cross-pollinate between disciplines.
My design studio, MWM Graphics, collaborates with brands and agencies on identity systems, ad campaigns, illustrations, packaging, textiles, product design, and more. The rest of the time I am in my painting studio, or on-site, for big murals and in-situ works. This range and balance are really good for me personally and for my creative output as well.
It’s awkward to try and answer the question ‘How did you get started as an artist?’ The way I look at it, we are all artists, especially when we are children. Every kid spends their first decade learning how to draw, mix colors, write cursive. Sometimes I jokingly respond ‘When did you decide to no longer be an artist?’ A silly question, but a healthy reminder that we are all artists if we chose to remember and see ourselves this way.
You started out in action board sports...which ones? And how does that experience now influence your art?
Skateboarding and snowboarding have been a big part of my life, my social circles, and also great for inspiration. Of course the history of board graphics, fashion, and the worldwide culture, but also the energy, flow, and geometry of the sports. Planning routes, calculating curves, thinking up ways to do something bigger and different. Cruising with style in a unique way.
Sometimes when I am lost in the moment on my way down the slopes I imagine that I am the tip of a paintbrush gliding along the canvas. Or vice-versa, when I am laying foundation lines with spray paint on a wall I am trying to capture the energy of a corner curve at top speed.
One of the striking thing about your history as an artist is the incredible variety in your portfolio. Can you give us an example of one project leading to another?
I live and work to the mantra ‘Range is conducive to growth.’ Each project is informed by and building on discoveries from the past. Some examples of this that stand out for me with my own evolution are the digital artworks that I have made, the steps that I went through in the process, explorations, mistakes, and new techniques. It is so fast and forgiving to work digitally.
Color, scale, experimentation, digital works can be created much faster and with more flexibility than traditional art. These explorations in vector graphics, and the freedom to revise and modify the work, all of this has really given me a new perspective on the way that I approach painting canvas, murals, and build sculptures.
Explain “Vectorfunk.” Because it’s awesome.
Vectorfunk is the name I gave to the abstract digital artwork that I create using Adobe Illustrator. Vector graphics are created by arranging points to create form, as opposed to raster graphics that are made up of pixels. Years ago while I was in school learning graphic design I immersed myself in this method of rendering images. Since then I have translated this methodology and aesthetics to the canvases and murals I paint. I initially intended to only use the term for my digital graphic work but things have a life of their own and the term has been used a lot with regards to my handmade fine art endeavors as well.
You’ve made some impressive murals around the world. Do you have a favorite or one that means the most to you?
I can’t say that I have an ultimate favorite mural project, but I do have some great memories from each. Some were strong evolutionary steps, others were risky experiments that worked, others didn’t work out so well. Always learning and trying to push forward to the next step. Living and painting murals in Paris was a great chapter of my wall work. I returned to painting organic freeform pieces after a decade of focusing on mostly geometric abstraction.
More recently I have been doing three-dimensional wall sculptures and these feel like the convergence of many of my interests. The next chapter. Surface design, abstraction, op-art, pattern, and environment. This work is probably my favorite at the moment because it is a new stem and I can see many ways to grow with it.
What’s it like traveling for your art? Any tips for fellow artists?
I am so grateful to have so many opportunities to travel for my work. It is all I could have ever dreamed and more. As far as lessons learned, I think the most important things to be mindful of when traveling, and in life in general, is to stay humble, open, curious, and ready for spontaneous adventure. Freestyle is the truth. My greatest memories and some of my greatest creations were the results of trusting the universe and going with the flow of the moment. For example, arriving at a gallery show a couple months early with no artwork made yet. Doing residencies like this has allowed me to super focus on the work, while getting to know and be inspired by the people and energy of that place.
Are there any new mediums you want to explore?
So many things I want to learn about and experiment with. A lifelong dream of mine is to work extra huge on a city planning level. I dream of designing brick mosaics that span miles of sidewalk, 3D surface interventions on sound barriers and bridge underpasses, holistically designing landscaping to fit with hardscaping, plants and sculpture, light and shadow. Even the tiny details like the pattern used for crosswalks and bike lanes. This type of work is so appealing to me at this stage of my career. Public art, and environmental design, on a grand scale.
What’s one of the reasons you’re on Ello? cough Asking for a friend.
All along I have been impressed by the creative crowd on Ello. So many super talented folks! And the site functionality is a breeze to search and discover new artists, designers, photographers. I am a real fan of the extra big crispy clean images that you guys accommodate for. Most other social places online are not very considerate of image quality. Thanks so much!
What’s next on your fairly epic to-do list?
As the cooler temps are creeping in here in Portland, Maine I am getting hyped to start this year's installment of my annual black and white series. Every Winter I create a new series of greyscale works on paper that explore the evolution of my visual vocabulary. A lifelong narrative. Always B/W and handmade. This year will be really fun because I have a decent sized studio that will allow me to work large, on multiple pieces at the same time, and make a mess too. Some chapters from yesteryears were created sitting at a computer desk in a far away AirBnB, painting extra clean on small size paper. So this year I’m going to get wild with it and just tarp the entire floor before I begin. Splash : )