this side up.

Mar 4

Feature Friday - Steve Morris

by thecargohteam  | Comment

Graphic Designer, Art Director, Comic Book Artist and Writer - all in a days work for Steve Morris. And you thought tweeting was hard....

FF#:Steve, when did you become a "full grown" artist?

SM:I don’t remember a time when I didn’t consider myself a “full grown” artist, it’s an inescapable state of being for me.

#FF:What made you jump on the independent artist wagon?

SM:Like most artists, I have ideas and stories I want to relate, and the only way to do this is to strike out on one’s own path and terms.However, I think being independent is less of a choice and more of a necessity for artists (excluding the industrial/graphic arts), as there aren’t many opportunities to be a “dependent” one.

#FF:Where do all of your "characters" come from?

SM:A few places: organically from a theme or visual story that I want to tell, mythological/religious/historical figures, and in my writing/sequential art...from pieces of people I have known in my life as well as bits of myself.

#FF: What's one of your main sources of inspiration?

SM: Hmm that’s a tough one, I’m a scattered person so I’ve never really had one or even a few main sources,...although now as I’m typing this, “humor” is probably one of the reoccurring forms of inspiration in most of my creative endeavors.

A more obtuse (but totally true) answer would be that I’m always trying to redeem myself against past failures in my art...which usually take the form of whatever my last piece happened to be.

#FF: How did it feel to see "Blessed Thistle” fully published? was it like having a baby?

SM:Like having a baby, it was painful and I was glad when it was over lol. But seriously, it was the biggest book I have done to date, and I felt like I had accomplished something by writing, creating art, lettering, and doing some graphic design for the book.

#FF: How did you get started selling your work? (your beginner steps)

SM: My first experience with selling my work was in junior high, painting the album covers of metal bands on the backs of denim jackets, as well as doing various fantasy style illustrations. Art is one of the few skills that a kid can have, which other kids recognize and are willing to pay for. But I started selling my work with some regularity around 2008, when dotcom-marketplace venues for artist were hitting a stride. I liked their business model over POD sites, as they gave more control to the artist. Selling prints online also helped give me more exposure which has lead to contact with galleries, a talented musician, and a fashion retailer.

#FF:How often do you generate new work?

SM: I try to make two new personal pieces a month, but my regular work often impedes that goal. Since the summer, I’ve been receiving regular cover work from Dark Horse Comics, so while I’m producing new work, it’s not work I have reproduction rights over...however, I see this type of commercial work as great advertising for my own art.

#FF:Is there an accomplishment you are most proud of?

SM:Being a self taught artist is highest on the list. I spent most of my youth painting and drawing and had achieved a high level of technical skill by a young age.

#FF:What's your next move as an artist?

SM:Up, down and all around. From a business standpoint, raising the level of my name recognition. From a creative standpoint, I ‘d like to get back to doing some real-world painting (off the computer) and produce a few different series that I can show in galleries. I wrote two more graphic novel 4 years back and I’m slowly moving onto the art. In my periphery I’ve considered trying to do a vinyl toy as well as something wearable, like a t-shirt.

#FF:What's your favorite weekend drink? (or any day drink)

SM:I drink a daily/semi-daily mix of frozen berries and orange juice, and have so for about the last ten years. I once got creative and threw some frozen bell peppers into the mix, but I won’t being doing that again...I’ll leave the deadly art of vegetable/fruit blends to the professional juice manufacturers.

If we’re talking “adult beverages”, my default drink is gin and tonic.

#FF: Got any favorite bands at the moment?

SM:RTX (aka Royal Trux), Yo La Tengo, and Dethklok...they’re my favorite band-based-on-a-cartoon ever!

#FF: What's the best insider advice you could give to our community of independent artists?

SM: Despite some of the romanticized perceptions about art, it is a business, and to be commercial successful you need a combination of skill, luck, and business knowledge. “Business knowledge” it’s a catchall for things like networking, advertising, an understanding of contractual language, etc...all things which are normally anathema to creative types, but are crucial to building a career.

Thanks so much Steve, that's a great advice! you gotta link your heart and passion to your brains and business, and the rest will follow...sort of.


If you want to get more visual inspiration by Steve go to his store, his blog, or his website and treat yourself to some awesome illustrations.


Til next friday!



The Word.