We should all be inspired to reach for our dreams with the safety of knowing that someone has our back!
- Emerson Tenney
For as long as I can remember I've had a love for exploring the world and giving back. There is nothing more gratifying than knowing that while on the journey to your own dreams, you have helped someone else reach for theirs.
Artist Burton Morris is best known for his bold, graphic pop art depictions of various modern icons. His subject matter includes everyday objects that portray today’s popular culture. Pittsburgh born Morris earned his fine arts degree at Carnegie Mellon, had a career as an art director in advertising and then burst onto the American stage when he was given international exposure in 2004 producing the signature image for the 76th Annual Academy Awards. His iconic paintings collectors range from Presidents, Dignitaries, Celebrities and Corporate leaders worldwide. His signature creations have hung on the sets of classic TV show’s like “Friends” as well images for The United States Olympic Team, The 38th Montreux Jazz Festival, The Andre Agassi Foundation, FIFA World Cup Soccer, The 2006 MLB All-Star Game, the 2012 One Young World Conference, and the 2016 US Open Golf Tournament. Original artworks have been commissioned for corporations and Institutions such as H.J. Heinz, Chanel, Rolex, Perrier, AT&T, Kellogg’s and the U.S. State Department. In addition, Burton’s artwork has helped to raise millions of dollars for charities worldwide.
I was lucky enough to meet him in his Santa Monica studio. He and his lovely wife, Sara, gave me ample time to talk about the importance of creativity, what he finds inspiring and why he knows it’s important to give back, especially to a cause like Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Please watch this special interview and donate to help open patients art rooms.
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Iconic Pop Artist, Burton Morris shares how his personal experience at Children’s Hospital acted as a catalyst for his success and what he believes are the keys to reaching our dreams.
Adrianne Lobel is best known as a stage designer. Some highlights from an international career include the world premiers of “Dr. Atomic” and “Nixon in China,” both composed by John Adams and directed by Peter Sellars, Stephen Sondheim’s “Passion” and “The Diary of Anne Frank” on Broadway both directed by James Lapine, “L’ Allegro, Il Penseroso, ed Il Moderato” and the “Hard Nut” both choreographed by Mark Morris, “An American Tragedy” composed by Tobias Picker and directed by Francesca Zambello at The Metropolitan Opera, and “An American in Paris” choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon for The New York City Ballet. Though she started as a painter in her teens, the lure of the theater pulled her away from studies at the easel. The last dozen years has brought her back to the canvas and increasingly committed her to work as a painter. She is a member of The Bowery Gallery in Chelsea and has shown in other New York City galleries and in various galleries in Upstate New York. She is a graduate of The Yale School of Drama.
I am very grateful for Adrianne’s insights into her unique journey, expertise, and her support of my fundraising efforts for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Below is her interview…
Em:”Why, to you, is art and creativity essential?”
Adrianne: “Art is my religion. Other people pray for solace, inspiration and guidance, or meditate for clarity and peace of mind; I go to museums and galleries for solace, guidance, and inspiration, and the act of painting is like meditation for me. This is not something I think about…it is just who I am. When I am traveling in a foreign country, the first thing I do after unpacking is head to the nearest museum. I do this because I want to see the local collections, but also because when I am in a museum I am never lonely or homesick. Artists from all periods of time are there to talk to me and keep me very good company.
Em: “Describe your own unique process for creating art”
Adrianne: “It would take a long time to describe my artistic process as it is a complicated mix of intellect, feeling, instinct, background, and physicality. I design sets for the theater and that is one kind of process, and I paint, and that is another kind of process. But I can say that both processes rely very much on a comfort with drawing. I THINK drawing and that is my language. I listen to myself while I am drawing but more importantly, I listen to the drawing or the painting and it tells me what to do next. I try not to get in the way of that and though I am constantly editing, I try not to be critical in a negative way of myself. I try to let the thing happen. When it does, it is very exciting. A painter friend of mine recently said that her work was changing radically. When I asked her why, she thought, that was she replied, “I don’t know…I only work here.” I thought that was a great way of putting it. When it is going well, it feels like the work is being channeled through you by a greater something and doesn’t have much to do with you at all. This sounds a bit loose-goosey which I do not mean at all. I know that this feeling doesn’t happen unless you are very disciplined and work hard every day.
Em: “Do you have a moment of struggle or triumph in producing your art that stands out in you mind?”
Adrianne: “There are breakthroughs all the time. It is all struggle and all triumph. My best work is always ahead of me and sometimes I can see myself doing it…It is exciting when I do something that reminds me of that vision…that I am getting closer to what I am meant to do.”
Em: “What first inspired you to become an artist?”
Adrianne: “I never had any choice about being an artist. Both my parents were illustrators. I grew up under their drawing tables, using art supplies that fell off the table as they were working. From the age of three I had a callus on my middle finger from drawing so much, of which I was very proud…I called it my “artist bump” and showed it to my kindergarten teacher. My earliest memories are of the smell of rubber cement and fixative. I grew up in New York City and went to museums before I could crawl. I watched my parents work at home so never had any issues with “having a job”…I knew I could survive as an artist. I was lucky that way.
I often find myself hanging out in downtown Los Angeles. One of my favorite bookstores, The Last Bookstore, is there, and of course many of LA’s best restaurants are there too. And I’ve come to notice that you can’t walk very far in the Art’s District without seeing one of Kim West’s gorgeous murals. They have been seen on television shows, in commercials and film productions. If you ever visit downtown LA, chances are you’ll be one of the thousands of tourists taking selfies in front of her art. Kim graciously accepted my request to particitpate in this charitable campaign for Children’s Hospital. I know you’ll enjoy reading about her journey. Read more