Smile Politely

WorkSpace: David Michael Moore

Welcome back to WorkSpace, a series featuring an inside look at the places where local artists and creatives roll up their sleeves and take care of business. Today, we are going to see the work of David Michael Moore.

He started his own design and illustration business in 2012 and now have office space at the [co][lab] in Urbana where he has begun focusing his work on scribing for meetings—strategic planning, visioning, public forms and the like. Scribing (also known as graphic facilitation) is the practice of using illustration to capture big ideas and promote visual thinking with a group. Also, he is a volunteer with the PechaKucha Night committee and serves as President of CUDO, the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization.

Smile Politely: When and how did you decide to become an artist?

David Michael Moore: Perhaps, from birth. My artistic talent comes from my mom’s side and my natural introversion gave me plenty opportunity to hone my skills. Growing up I worked for my brother-in-law who was a digital colorist for DC Comics. I was in charge of flats—prepping a page with basic color separations—before he would do his magic. This experience was pivotal to learning Photoshop, becoming comfortable with a Wacom tablet and starting me on my way as a graphic designer.

SP: What or who are your influences?

Moore: Brands and advertising has always fascinated me. I was often copying comic strips and advertisements from our newspaper when I was little. This continued through grade school where I was making my own cartoons and lottery tickets, then college where I had a regular newspaper comic and then creating tweet-based artwork under the user retweetartist a few years ago.

SP: Who would you like to collaborate with and why?

Moore: If I could combine two great things that I love, scribing and podcasts, I could say that a dream collaboration would be illustrating live or creating a time-lapse animation on an episode of This American Life, Radiolab, Stuff You Should Know or StartUp—some story or subject to help aid understanding and retention. 

SP: Tell us about your workspace

Moore: Being a part of the [co][lab] feels great. My first year working for myself was from my basement, and you certainly don’t get the buzz or energy from other people working around you. I’ve found I have a lot of external motivators in my life, so surrounding myself with industrious and focused people naturally brings the best out of me and my work. Plus, whiteboards wall-to-wall and good foot traffic so I can share my work with new people every week. I’ve put as much design work as I can on my wall and then stacked more to the ceiling on top of that.

SP: Choose a piece of your artwork and explain it in detail

Moore: One passion project of mine was a board game I created with a group of people in 2013 called, The Blob Attacks! It had always been a dream of mine to create a board game and it so happened that CUDO launched a board game design competition that year that provided the resources, encouragement and accountability to see this project to completion. The finished game had an 88 card deck, 120 laser-cut acrylic “blob” pieces, and a wood board with interlocking pieces. The most exciting part for me was the constant iteration—I would fill my notebook with new ideas, build a prototype, test on the weekend, then destroy it and build it again from the new feedback I’d received. There were 7 major versions of the game with different mechanics within the 5-month process.

Image courtesy of George Michael Moore

SP: What movie would you recommend to watch and why?

Moore: My favorite movie is Moulin Rouge (2001), so I’ll go ahead and recommend it thoroughly for its music, visual style, and frenetic storytelling. The movies that capture my heart are often “zany” and loose with reality.

SP: What is your favorite spot in C-U?

Moore: I am often walking through the SIPYARD (Beer garden in Urbana) to see new graffiti art up on the walls, and quite frankly there needs to be more public spaces in our community that can be inhabited by artists. Not necessarily another gallery space, but a community space where people are free to come in and be inspired, and artists can speak with their work freely.

SP: What do you think about the art scene in C-U?

Moore: Diverse, but often hidden. There are a lot of small communities that are doing great work, but it there isn’t the critical mass to reach a wider audience. I’m hoping the work of 40 North and CUDO can help put a spotlight on these so more people can see CU as a destination for design and young creatives.

SP: Where, when and how can we see your work?

Moore: Come out to Gallery 217 Friday, November 11 from 5–9pm to see some of my best work in the CUDO Pro Show. I encourage all artists become a friend or member of CUDO and put their work in the exhibition as well.

About the author: Jimena Oliver

Jimena is a photographer at Smile Politely. Find more of her work and photographs online:

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