James Charles Morris
Mixed Media Collage on Wood
40 X 48 in.
BECOMING ONE by James Charles Morris
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Curiosity is the driving force of my artistic journey. It has allowed me to explore, view, and absorb the world in a way that create a sense of wonder towards my work. The medium that I currently practice, is a combination of collage, photo montage, and abstract expressionism. Through this “collage-montage” style, I create figurative art, often portraying people in moments of personal introspection, while using themes that center around reinvention, self-confidence, pride, purpose, love, inspiration, mental wellness, and spirituality. There’s a saying I have when it comes to creating art, “start, by not starting”. What this means is, you don’t force a creative vision to appear, you allow it to reveal itself through time, and once it arrives, let yourself become fully immersed in the emotion of that moment. In practicing this mantra, it reminds me that when I’m in a creative space, to be respectful of that space, and to not allow outside distractions to interfere with the process. In my work, I often portray figures who have influenced my spirit in some way. The subjects usually include family, acquaintances, other artists, and those who I’ve shared brief yet meaningful encounters with. My intention is to create a visual narrative of personal appreciation through the emotions the figure displays, while surrounding them with a vivid world, complementary to their spirit. The key element of my work, is photography. Every day, I look to photograph what I see as the necessary textures and colors needed to create a piece, found amongst elements of nature, urban surroundings, and miscellaneous findings. Once I’ve gathered enough images to fill a palate, I start to build the piece by cutting out sections from each photograph, and placing them together like a puzzle. There’s an intricate rhythm that takes place during the creation of the work, it can be blissful, therapeutic, even chaotic, though it never fails to move me.
James Charles Morris (b. 1984), is a self-taught multidisciplinary artist, who has engaged in the creative visual media practices of photography, collage, painting, and printmaking for more than 20 years. Morris has used his work to engage in various social conversations addressing themes of race, spirituality, history, mental wellness and community. As a native Detroiter, Morris has always had a fondness for his hometown, which is evident in his work. Morris’ artistic influence began to manifest at a very early age, as he took found objects from around his home and created new works. However, his familial connections also informed his development. Grandmother, Dell Pryor, a gallerist in the city of Detroit across four decades, exposed James to many emerging and master artists. Some of those names that ultimately influenced and inspired Morris include Gordon Parks, Adger Cowans, Hugh Grannum, Lester Sloan, Al Loving, Gilda Snowden, Shirley Woodson, Anthony Barboza, and Eric Pryor among others. In 2008, Morris founded Definitive Style Exclusive (DSE Detroit), an apparel brand that uses an array of visual designs and statements, created with a simple yet blunt approach to touch on difficult and controversial topics within our society. In 2019, Morris began developing an artistic style that combines collage, photo montage, and abstract expressionism. This “collage-montage” style has led Morris to create a series of figurative works, that have engaged many within the artistic community.