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How murals by Matt Hooker and Matt Moore legitimize businesses

“How do two people decide they are going to paint murals together?” That’s what I asked Matt Hooker, 36, and Matt Moore, 31, as they painted the final side of the mural at The Company Store in NoDa.

“The Matts” met in 2008 and were friends for three years before realizing they were both artists. It took another three years for them to do their first project together, a live painting of Thomas Edison at The Edison in Plaza Midwood.

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Neither Hooker nor Moore is a formally trained artist, but they both were “that kid” in school who everyone asked to draw something or design a tattoo. Today, they appreciate one another’s style and approach to art.

Moore said, “If I get stuck, Matt provides a different perspective. We bounce ideas off each other.”

Spreading a little #LOVE with @hookermedia on the rooftop at the #epicentre for the #SummerLove festival. This piece was auctioned off and all the proceeds were donated to the #AChildsPlace charity. Rad night. Rad cause. #spreadLOVE

A post shared by MATT MOORE (@puckmcgruff) on Sep 19, 2015 at 7:05pm PDT

Since 2014, Hooker and Moore have been covering Charlotte with their murals. The Local, Carolina Theatre building and NoDa Brewing Taproom are a few places that feature their work. When asked which mural is his favorite, Hooker said, “They are like kids, I love them all.”

Moore added that he is always raising the bar for their work. “I wouldn’t want to look at an older mural and think, ‘That one is much better than the one I am working on now.'”

Both agreed that Eight’s Last Emperor of China at the NC Music Factory was the most unusual one they have worked on together. The mural is in the style of the infamous street artist, Banksy.

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For The Company Store, they researched NoDa and included images of a chicken thief and a revolutionary war hero to reflect the area’s varied history. Even though Hooker and Moore may have a design in mind, once they start the project, the surface, lighting and space may dictate changes to the original plan.

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After the designing phase, Hooker and Moore may sketch the work out using sidewalk chalk, then outline and fill in with paint. The size, intricacy and detail of the mural determine how much time it will take to complete the project. The costs for a quality mural take into account design, labor and time. This dynamic duo thinks it is well worth it.

Hooker said, “It legitimizes people’s view of a business, makes it a destination spot and puts Charlotte on level with other cities that have street art.”

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Hooker and Moore’s goal is to become the go-to team for murals in Charlotte. “We are in the middle of a perfect storm: we have the experience, Charlotte is not overrun with street art and the economy is good so that we can get paid for what it’s worth,” said Hooker.

Photos: Jon Berkon, Michael O’Neill, Vanessa Infanzon