Frank Morrison (b. 1971) started his journey as a graffiti artist in New Jersey, tagging walls with spray paint. However, it was the opportunity to tour with music artist Sybil as a break dancer, an influential high school art teacher, and a visit to the Louvre Museum in Paris, that opened him up to new artistic and creative avenues.
An early indoctrine into hip-hop culture can be seen through Morrison’s work, which has been dubbed a mash-up of urban mannerism, graffiti and abstract contemporary, and reflects deeply on the loss of human stories from past eras.
Morrison strives to capture people as they are, translating emotions through his paintings and leaving a memoir of our life and times today. His work depicts African-American livelihood in a way that is both familiar and comforting to those who often feel histories have been forgotten and culture has been usurped.
Citing both Ernie Barnes and Annie Lee as fore-bearers of this tradition, Morrison remarks on his practice, “My work dignifies the evolution of everyday, underrepresented people and places within the urban landscape. I seek to both highlight and preserve the soul of the city through the lens of hip-hop culture and urban iconography. I want people to experience the visual rhythms that choreograph life for the average, everyday person.”
Morrison’s work has been featured at Art Basel, Scope Miami and Red Dot art fairs, and shown at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (sponsored by ESSENCE ART and Toyota) and Mason Fine Art Gallery (Atlanta, Georgia). His solo exhibitions include “Frank Morrison: Live, Love and Jazz” (2013) and “Graffiti” (2014), both at Richard Beavers Gallery (Brooklyn, New York).
The William H. and Camille O. Cosby Collection, and the private collections of art patron Peggy Cooper-Cafritz and athlete Derek Jeter include work by Morrison. He has also been commissioned to create works for recording artist, producer and art curator Swizz Beats, and Emmy Award-winning writer and producer Jordan Peele’s film “Get Out”.
An acclaimed illustrator, Morrison’s work can be found in numerous award-winning children’s books including Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award winner Jazzy Miz Mozetta, NAACP Image Award winner Our Children Can Soar and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, Little Melba and her Big Trombone. His literary client list includes international book publishers Penguin Books, HarperCollins, Hyperion, Random House and National Geographic Kids.
Continuing to celebrate the teacher that changed his life by insisting he visit his first art museum, Morrison signs each of his works “TTD” (“Thanks to God”) to also show his gratitude for God’s plan in positioning him where he is today. “I know where I am is not by accident. I want to just be able to continue doing what I do.”
Frank Morrison lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and five children.