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Q&A with Matt W. Moore {printed in Art Bureau 17}

Matt, you've been very busy. In the last year or so, you've moved from Portland, Maine to work for Burton Snowboards in Vermont, and now I hear you opened your own design firm in Boston. Can you give us a brief re-cap of what led you away from Portland and made it possible for you to start a design business in Boston?

Well, I finished school in Portland in 2005 and worked at a design firm there for a while. It was a great job, but when the opportunity to move to Vermont for the web-design job with Burton Syndicate came my way, I had to give it a shot. Working in that industry was always my dream, and it was a blast to be there. For years I have been running MWM Graphics as a side-hustle—literally working almost every night and weekend. It got to the point where I was turning down really exciting jobs because I just couldn’t make the time. As it has always been my dream to run my own studio full time, the logical step was to just go for it. Kinda scary, but very rewarding too. Boston is my hometown. I have enough friends here in the design world, so it made a lot of sense to relocate and set up shop.

When surfing around the Net, and visiting my local magazine rack, MWM looks to be global. I am a bit overwhelmed on what aspect of the MWM empire to focus on. You have one hell of a PR team?

Ha ha. PR team. Yeah right. It is just me and any help I can get from friends in the press and design world. If you could see my "birds nest" of a studio you might reconsider calling it an empire. It’s more "Beautiful Mind" than "Braveheart." Ha ha. But yeah, I grind hard and try to make sure that when I drop a new project it gets into the right hands. Old school style, not PDF press packs. I send promos all over the globe to people I look up to. This strategy has worked wonders for me.

ROJO Artspace in Barcelona has given you great exposure. They've promoted your vector graphics in their mag, on billboards, and on their ROJO TV station. Did you send promos to them or did they contact you first?

I sent them a bunch of promos and they expressed interest back. They were really digging what I was doing with my "Vectorfunk" Series, and the rest is history.

ROJO is an amazing organization. Truly global. For real, check out how many books they have dropped, and check out their gallery network. So legit! Back in May of 2008, ROJO Artspace hosted my solo show “MWM: 20/20” in Barcelona.

How was it?

Well, Barcelona is an amazing city. I was very comfortable there. I was lazy on the photo-taking, but if I had taken pictures it would have been of the crazy bright colors, the intricate geometry tile mosaics, the insane architecture, and the speedy moped pilots. Everyone was very kind and slowed down their Español for me. It was fun trying to remember how to say stuff.

The show was rad. I had to grind out 18 new paintings for the show, and I did a full gallery mural. My new hardcover book MWM: Vectorfunk was released on opening night. It was such an honor to be there.

Speaking of new books, your B/W Bangers Book 4 just dropped. Each year these publications have a completely different format with a unique design. Do you direct or design these books in any way?

Well, it's like anything really. One thing leads to another. I live by the motto "range is conducive to growth" and I feel strongest when I create all sorts of different projects simultaneously.

The B/W Bangers series is a way for me to do personal work away from the computer, and create a loose narrative that explores new ideas and visual vocabulary.

It is a lifelong project. I plan to continue the series with a new installment every winter, each time with a new twist.

You launched the PDF sticker zine Wallspankers in 2006. Is that project still continuing?

Wallspankers is growing exponentially. The project has become a major hit and I am super-excited about that. Issue 4 was the "one-year anniversary mega-issue." It dropped last spring, and the WS:1234 Book will go into production later this year.

Everyone should contribute their work and join the movement. I promise it will be seen by the masses.

What's next on your agenda?

I'm in it for the long haul, across the board. I will continue to grow MWM Graphics in all directions, personal and professional.

My 5-year plan is ambitious, but I think I can pull it off. In the last year I have made some crucial alliances, so as long as I can keep coming up with new ideas and keep moving shapes and colors around, MWM Graphics and Knuckle Sandwich Press will continue to grow.

One day, I will return to Maine and live in the sticks. I'm lucky, because this is totally an option with my trade.

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Matt W. Moore works across all disciplines, from monochrome watercolor paintings to massive murals and precise vector illustrations. His work has appeared in books, magazines and on billboards from around the globe. His portfolio can be seen at mwmgraphics.com.

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Tags: matt w. moore, mwm graphics, vectorfunk, wallspankers

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