I was turned onto Matt Moore’s work after a recent video that Ironlak put out of a track side wall he collaborated on with Jurne, Dement, Twigs and Enron. I had admired his design and mural work before, yet had no idea to the extent that it reached. A very well rounded artist, being able to walk the line between multiple mediums and actually doing it extremely well speaks volumes. I have a true respect for MWM, being primarily a design artist he is able to transition his ideas and aesthetic vision into canvases, and walls very superbly. His signature Vectorfunk style seems to be a visual soundtrack to his own mind that we get a glimpse into one piece of work at a time. I was able to catch up with MWM and ask him some questions below is the interview.
Give us a brief history of how you first started to paint walls, as compared to primarily working in design and painting? Did you paint walls first, then get into design, or was it the other way around?
Like many of your readers, the first creative outlet that I immersed myself in was traditional graffiti. I drew my name in many different ways and then painted those blueprints on walls. As my style evolved I started to put more focus on intricate fills and taking over entire surfaces with abstract funk. Then after a few solid years of that I completely abandoned letter forms and started to paint large abstract free form compositions. Around this time I was in school for Graphic Design and I was learning how to render images digitally. Geometry, Asymmetry, and Composition became my focus in the graphic work I was creating, and I cross pollinated this energy towards my graffiti, murals, and canvas paintings. I’m lucky to have been introduced to so many different art and design disciplines. If it weren’t for my experiments and discoveries in one realm I would never have evolved the way I did in the others.
You talk about energy. For me this is one of the most defining characteristics of graffiti, even without letters its hard to hide it. Some call it style, yet it is something that keeps shining through in most artists work as they cross into new mediums. I recently watched a video where you painted a production with Jurne and friends. How did that collaboration come about, and also do you have other projects coming out in the future?
The track side production in Oakland was a lot of fun. I visit the Bay Area a few times a year and always link up with Jurne for for some painting missions. Ironlak was real cool and floated up a grip of paint for the wall. Twigs was in town as well, and Enron and Dment too. So we planned out an ambitious one night jam and Lea Bruno filmed the whole thing Blair Witch Graffiti style. The video turned out great and we had a good time blending styles and techniques.
I have an exciting 2011 planned. Lots of travel, big murals, and gallery exhibitions. Heading to Amsterdam in a couple weeks to paint a cool boutique interior. Then I’ll be going to Cincinnati for a residency and exhibition at YES Gallery. Definitely going to paint some big walls while I’m there for that. Then back to Europe for the infamous OFFF Festival in Barcelona where I will be painting a huge mural and speaking about my art and design. And then in September I’m shooting back to Paris for another month long residency and exhibition at Since Gallery, where I had my Crystals & Lasers show last Winter. A busy and fun year for sure!
Wow, congrats it seems that you are definitely not wasting any time with a schedule like that. Do you have a preference when it comes to painting vs design work is there a favorite for you?
When it comes to Art and Design I don’t have a favorite. Each is challenging and satisfying in it’s own way. For me it’s all about balance and doing something different everyday. My ideal calendar would be split evenly between Graphic Design work like Logos, Posters, Apparel, Products, and more artsy stuff like Murals, Canvas Painting, and Sculpture. I live by the mantra “Range Is Conducive To Growth”.
Can you describe the difference in process of creating a mural versus a painting a canvas or design work. Your design work seems to be so complex and immense in its scope of detail it would seem such a huge task to attempt to paint. Do you have a clear separation of intent when working in a certain medium?
My process varies depending on many factors, but the raw energy remains the same regardless of the medium. I’ve never made a graphic design that I couldn’t paint on a wall. It’s all about time and resources. Sometimes I have only a day for a wall, other times I have a week. A lot can get done in a week as long as I plan properly. Sometimes I think about my work as being tiny moments in an infinite landscape of geometric optical illusions. There is always another layer that can be added to make it more complex, and there are always interesting moments within the works that could be cropped out and stand alone as their own composition. Designing things on the computer has allowed me to experiment and evolve at a rapid pace. My process has become more fluid, I’m more comfortable taking risks, and my ability to see the way something will look before I actually do it has really helped my fine art and mural concepts. Some stuff makes sense to do with vector design and other stuff is a lot more fun to make with paint and long hours on a ladder.
That makes a lot of sense many graffiti artists at times have stacked the rules against themselves by not utilizing technology or even the most basic tools. Its good to see Artists like yourself taking advantage of your design experience. It seems that there are some however recently that are willing to cross some of these taboos. Can you describe to us your style and what direction you are currently taking your current work.
Moving forward I plan to continue exploring optical illusions and asymmetrical geometry in my work. I’ve been thinking a lot about 3D design such as furniture and sculpture, so expect some cool stuff in these realms from me in the near future. My Design Studio, MWM Graphics, keeps me quite busy working on client projects across the spectrum of graphic design and illustration. And my Painting Studio has been getting a lot of attention lately in preparation for upcoming shows. My current work celebrates a more balanced ratio of Geometric VS. Organic forms, and I’ve been bringing back representational and conceptual ideas into the series I work on.
Nice, it seems like there is no stone unturned when it comes to your goals. I always admire those that instead of making excuses or keeping it safe venture into the uncomfortable process at times of new ideas. Explain a little about Vectorfunk, is this a style or a general term used for your work?
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. Many years ago while I was in school learning graphic design I immersed myself in this method of rendering images. In recent years I have translated this approach 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.
I don’t know if its just me, but its an exciting time to be an artist in today’s world. With Social Media and being an insomniac like myself, I am able to talk to artists half way around the world instantly. Coming from the pen pal age of trading graffiti photos with your contemporaries, to talking over twitter and Skype Its a whole new ballgame. Is technology more of a hindrance or a positive influence when it comes to your work?
I agree! It is certainly an exciting time to be alive, and be in the business of producing and creating. I could talk all day about the pros and cons of present day web interconnectedness. There are many obvious pros to modern communication. I am able to live in Portland, Maine and work with collaborators and clients across the globe, many of whom I’ve never met in real life. It’s also really cool to tune into all the niche cultures I am interested in, and participate in, and correspond with folks all over the place. On the flip side, I take pride in being from a generation of artists and graffiti cats that came up reading black and white photocopied ‘zines and jocking ideas from our big brothers at the wall, rather than from folks we didn’t know that didn’t live in our city. The gestation period for movements and geographic specific styles has suffered. These days, if it’s dope, it’s on the web the next day, and the day after that there are dozens of cats pulling inspiration from it. This is all happening simultaneously with the originator’s efforts to further develop the ideas. This too has both pros and cons. It’s all one big yin-yang! At the end of the day, if you’re producing more than you consume, having fun, and walking a positive path… You win.