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Stephen Morris: Art Without Boundaries

Article ID: 76
Written by: rhknigh
Written on: Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:25 pm
Article Description: Stephen Morris draws, paints and even etches to create interesting original pieces. Many different types of mediums and surfaces are utilized in his artworks. Most notable is his unique style which so many people inquire about and comment on how unusual it is. Morris says that he has always referred to it as a diversionary style.
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Steve Morris is from a small farm town in Southern Iowa. He has always had a passion to draw and has been doing so since the age of about 8-years-old. Over the decades, his passion for drawing and art in general has grown and expanded to the point where he is always trying new mediums and surfaces. Morris draws, paints and even etches to create interesting original pieces. He likes to work with an assortment of different kinds of ink pens and will use color pencils blended in among the ink in some pieces. Many different types of mediums and surfaces are utilized in his artworks. Most notable is his unique style which so many people inquire about and comment on how unusual it is. As there is not an exact proper name, Morris says that he has always referred to it as a diversionary style.

"It is a style, I've been told since I've been drawing, that is original and not often seen."

New Castle © Stephen Morris

When did you start to think of yourself as an artist?

I have been drawing for the better part of 50 years and although I have been told for many years that I am an artist, I have also been accused of being entirely too humble and my own worst critic. So, for the majority of my creative years I never thought of myself as an artist until probably around 5 years ago when people started accepting and letting me know the appreciation they had for my diversionary, no-boundaries style and crediting it as a true art style. To be honest, I am still somewhat learning to accept the title artist!

What makes ink your preferred medium?

Ink has become my preferred medium, in part because even as a child I was always drawing something on anything I could, so I always had a pen in my pocket. Since that is what I always have at my ready, I have learned to work the different inks and master using them in so many different ways, from blending bold lines to the finest details and shadowing.

Tell me about other mediums you most enjoy creating with:

I don't always use just inks; some of my pieces include inks, colored pencils spray paint even some acrylic paints that I blend all together in different layers with different brushes and manners. I like to experiment using different mediums together that as a rule they say can't or shouldn't be used together. I also do a lot work on glass. I etch the same finely-detailed kind of pictures and pieces I do on paper on to glass bottles, flat glass, mirrors and even old vinyl record albums with a Dremel and wide assortment of different bits. I often after etching a picture will go back and blend light shades of color into it with various types of mediums from inks to different kinds of paints. Creating etchings and art with a Dremel is something I started about 10 years ago, and I have been working at and experimenting with since.

Green Tree and Bridge © Stephen Morris

How do you define your style of diversionary art, and how does it stand apart from other established styles?

I would define my diversionary art style as art without boundaries. Art has always been said to be in the eye of the person admiring it, so my style is a style without boundaries - meaning the person who is admiring or just even looking at it, is allowed to and can see what they want to see, and not necessarily the same thing that someone else sees. They are free to make of it what they want unlike some of the other established styles where, say, a tree is a tree to everyone who looks at it. The story I intend for my art to tell is whatever story the person looking into reads. My art means a lot to me, it represents my feelings, thoughts and places in my life, both physically, mentally and emotionally. I guess that would lead into the answer to the next question,

What inspires you to create art?

Life and all its feelings. I guess I'm not sure how to describe it but the easiest way would be to say, if you could not only feel the feelings you feel but could also literally see them and they had an identity, that’s what some of my more radical or complex diversionary pieces are: my inspirational feelings given an identity. All my pieces, both the landscapes and very complex diversions, all have things large and small, in them that are right in front of you but, depending on what you're seeing and where the piece is taking you, you don't see. Yet the next time you look at it, something new will jump out at you as if it's just been added to the piece when it was actually there all along - things like a small ladybug on a fence post, or an old man laying down fishing in the distance, or faces among the trees. To bigger things like all the elements in a piece as a whole actually being part of a person’s face complete with an eye and all.

Cotton Trees © Stephen Morris

I actually sold a large piece to a young lady at a local art show who had taken it to a gallery to be framed and asked to have a hanger at one end of the frame and another on the side of the frame. They told her that wasn't the proper way it was to be hung, that it was meant to be hung one way and with the signature at the bottom. She without hesitation proceeded to not only tell them but to show them that when hung one way it was one picture but when hung another way it became a whole new picture and she loved them both and was intending to be able to enjoy both, hanging whichever way she felt when she felt. I don't often even realize what all there is to see in a piece I've created or what all is coming to life in the back drops of pieces I'm working on until I've finished them and looked at them a few times and it never fails, there in the distance there will be a surprise that I didn't even know was there or that had been created. I think art makes people feel. When a person sees a piece they truly like, it usually stirs a feeling, or memory of some kind in them; they relate to the piece in a way, so I think it makes sense that feelings and such should stir, or inspire, creation.

Any regrets in life as an artist?

Well that's a question that never crossed my mind until a few years ago. As I mentioned earlier, after everyone started accepting my style and telling me how much they appreciated it I started to look at myself and my ability and talent of drawing in whole new light. Suddenly I realized, hey all these years I was drawing for myself and because I enjoyed it. All these years, for whatever the reason mostly fear of failing I think, never entered an art show, never took a chance on my passion and talent of drawing, and all along if I'd had taken a chance I could have been doing what I love and fulfilling a dream so to speak.

Eagle © Stephen Morris

So do I have any regrets in life as an artist - Yes that I knew I could be one in my heart and that that's probably all I wanted to be, but was to afraid or didn't figure out how to pursue it until 50 years later!! I regret that I'm saying 50 years LATER and not, FOR the last 50 years (about being an artist). But I am enjoying every bit of being an artist, even if it is 50 years later.

Advice for new artist?

Well I would tell them without a doubt if you’re passionate about your art and that's your dream - don't give up! And take a chance. Create from what you feel because then you're creating from what you know. Don’t try to mimic someone else’s style - art is not uniform, it doesn't require or have to have boundaries. You’re art is a reflection of you it is not going to nor is it supposed to please everyone and that's OK because you as a person don’t, nor or are you supposed to please everyone. Learn everything you can about art and creating it: styles, techniques etc. and then experiment. I don't know if that advice is something they can relate to or will help them out much but I think those are some of the most important things to know or remember about starting out and becoming an artist.

What kind of exposure have you had?

Well I haven't had a whole lot sadly, but I think that is one of THE toughest parts of being an artist and especially if you live in a small farm town. I have been in three local art shows and did fairly well. I was the top selling artist in one and one of the top two selling artists in the other two. I was featured on the front page of the local paper with a 2-page article and interview. Being from and growing up for 60 years in a small southern Iowa farm town where everyone knows everyone, I have had a lot of word of mouth exposure. And, with the help of my fiancée I have three galleries online in some free public artist sites those being: The Art Feed.com, Artist Site.org and my biggest most active one being on A SingularCreation.com.

All images © Stephen Morris
This article was last edited by Singular on Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:51 pm
This article has been viewed 5970 times

Rebecca Knight, representing artist Tanya Davis & author of a blog celebrating creativity:

Tags: art without boundaries, artist, artist interview, diversionary style, drawing, drawings, Dremel, etching, ink, iowa artist, pencil, Stephen Morris, Steve Morris,

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