April 25, 2010

Finding Moore in Maine

After living in art capitals and gaining international renown by age 30, designer and painter Matt Moore decides Portland is the place for him to work.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - The last time Matt Moore had an exhibition in town, he dubbed it his "Farewell Portland" show.

click image to enlarge

Matt Moore with one of his geometric, spray-painted designs at his “Crystals & Lasers” exhibition in Paris in February.

Courtesy of Matthew W. Moore

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Moore works on one of his “vectorfunk” designs in Paris. Recently he also painted a mural in New York City sponsored by Ray-Ban sunglasses. His work will be shown at Fore River Gallery in Portland beginning May 7.

Courtesy of Matthew W. Moore

Additional Photos Below

IF YOU GO

WHAT: “Geometry Grandiose” by Matthew W. Moore

WHERE: Fore River Gallery, 613 Congress St., Portland

WHEN: May 7-31, with a preview at 5 p.m. May 6 and a First Friday Art Walk opening 6 to 9 p.m. May 7

HOURS: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

INFORMATION: 791-2723 or www.forerivergallery.com, or for more about Moore, mwmgraphics.com

Now it's time to say hello.

Moore, a 30-year-old graphic designer and painter, opens a new exhibition in early May at the Fore River Gallery on Congress Street.

A 2006 graduate of the Maine College of Art, Moore intended to leave town for good not long after he finished his schooling. In fact, he did leave -- for London, New York, Paris, Sao Paolo.

But Portland lured him back.

"I just like Maine, dude," he said over a cup of coffee at Arabica. "I felt like I was still in my college town after graduating. But after traveling quite a bit -- I've been a lot of places -- I realize that Portland is my favorite city. This is where I want to be."

We're better for it.

Moore is a rising star in the design world. After working for other people, including briefly for the VIA Group ad agency in Portland, he now works for himself. He's the founder of MWM Graphics, a design and illustration studio in Portland's West End.

He works in many disciplines, but is best known for his lively geometric "vectorfunk" spray-painted designs that play tricks on the viewer's eyes, drawing them into a maze of shapes and a blizzard of bright and flashy colors.

He's a quiet artist, modest and unassuming. He's world-famous, although largely unknown in his adopted hometown. Over the years, he's taken on high-profile work for major companies, corporations and brands. His client list includes the mainstream and the hip, from Walmart and Scion Motors to Mountain Dew, Nike and Burton snowboards.

Lately, the project he's most proud of involved adorning Ray-Ban sunglasses with his vectorfunk motif. As part of his collaboration with Ray-Ban, Moore traveled to New York to paint a mural on the side of a Sunglass Hut store in Manhattan, in the shadow of the Empire State Building. The retailer also reproduced his design for in-store displays and exterior signs at other locations across New York.

Moore reveled in the thrill of it all.

"More people saw my art each hour than in all of my gallery exhibitions combined," he wrote on his blog. "Tens of thousands of curious tourists and New Yorkers. Lots of fun. It's always great to hear people's impression of my work, and explain my process. This was my most fun 'live painting event' yet. They even had a bodyguard and fancy velvet rope for me. Haha."

Moore also has a clothing line, Glyph Cue. He uses that brand as an outlet to design T-shirts for street-level fashion.

His next project is functional design. He wants to incorporate his geometric ideas into a line of furniture. Moore's no furniture maker, but he can handle power tools.

"I know how to not cut my fingers off," he says.

What he's got in mind is a collaboration with a buddy who does make furniture. Moore would handle the design and the art, and his friend would handle the manufacturing.

He is scared of nothing.

"My mantra is, 'Range is conducive to growth.' I never burn out on one thing. I am always cross-pollinating ideas from one medium to another," he says.

Elizabeth Marks, co-director of Fore River Gallery, attributes Moore's success to his work ethic. She went to school with him at MECA, and knew him then as a guy who barely paused long enough to sleep. That go-go attitude is evident yet today.

"He works all the time. He can just go," she said. "You look at any artist who's become big, and the trait they have in common is their willingness to work.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Matt Moore creates pieces for his recent exhibition in Paris. He said, “I am always cross-pollinating ideas from one medium to another.”

Courtesy of Matthew W. Moore

click image to enlarge

One of Moore's pieces from the Paris show.

Courtesy of Matthew W. Moore

 


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