Sean Morris Is Not Your Dad
Sean Morris is a Perth-born artist and illustrator, now based in Melbourne. He creates drawings which shift between curious studies of outsider living and colourful monuments to low-culture. The last 12 months have seem him hold solo exhibitions in Melbourne and Madrid, travel to Los Angeles for a group exhibition at New Image Art, and curate two group shows: "Let's Go, Magic Weirdos" in Perth and "Magic Weirdos Never Die" in London. He also recently opened an exhibition in Brisbane with Miso and Ghostpatrol as part of the 2013 Semi Permanent Conference.
Tell us about the artwork you've used for your latest print release (left).
It's called 'Dead Meat Peace Retreat'. I put it together from a recent series of pencil drawings inspired by afternoon drunks, old weapons, house plants and fruit platters.
You've been exhibiting overseas a lot more often of late. What has been your experience with the international market?
I've been pretty lucky to have travelled to the US for a bunch of group shows over the last couple of years, so it feels like things are building steadily, particularly in LA, and i've made some good friends out of it if nothing else. I had a solo show in Madrid 6 months ago which was my first major European venture, and the response in Spain was super positive so I'm excited about doing more stuff over there.
The characters in your artwork are sometimes both beautiful and grotesque, tell us more about these characters and the world/s they inhabit.
Nailing the grotesque and the beautiful at the same time is pretty much my main goal. As characters, the people i draw are pretty one-dimensional, I don't really ever draw the same person once. I take inspiration from a big archive of weird old photos that I'm constantly doing research to add to. The drawings are more about actions and interactions than character these days. And the world they inhabit is pretty minimal. I like stripping things back to humans, plants, weapons, fast food, booze, pottery, snakes, birds and dogs and seeing what sort of fun i can have with those elements.
How do you approach your personal work differently to commissioned work?
The tough thing about commissioned work for me is being open to giving up some control, and not being too precious. I've come to appreciate that in a way... it helps me remember that I really can do anything I want in my personal work, there are no rules.
I notice you recently did a mural with Ghostpatrol and you've been making zines for a while - how do you find working in different mediums, and what other mediums do you enjoy working with?
I have fun painting walls like that, but I'm most comfortable working digitally or with pencil on paper. It's definitely healthy to mix it up though.
What is your own art collection like?
Largely made up of trades or gifts from art pals like Kyle Hughes-Odgers, Eveline Tarunadjaja, Luke Pelletier, Maddy Young and Dillon Froelich.
Tell us about your working environment.
I share a pretty amazing studio space with Miso in the Nicholas building in Melbourne. It was Vali Myers' studio for 7 years. Good views and good strange vibes.
What's happening next for Sean Morris?
I'm curating the third in a series of group exhibitions under the 'Magic Weirdos' banner…. Should be happening in Melbourne in early 2014!