Julia Morrison entered 8 to Create’s first ever Undergraduate Gallery hosted in October 2018. In collaboration with The Collective, ten UIUC undergradate artists displayed their work for over 200 audience members to vote on. The winner would be one of our eight artists in the upcoming 5th annual 8 to Create event. Julia’s work won by a landslide and we are so excited to work with her this spring.
Julia Kay Morrison, JMO to many, is a 19 year old from Oak Park, Illinois who has been an artist since birth. She attended Oak Park River Forest High School and is currently studying the Studio Arts at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as a sophomore. With a Social Worker mother and a Musician father, JMO was raised with creativity and social activism as her religion, always drawing, singing, and dancing with her less important siblings. For her Junior year of school she will be attending Lorenzo De Medici in Florence, Italy, so go get an autograph while you still can.
My creative process is about passion, inspired by the characters around me, spontaneous adventures, provocative ideas, and of course sweet, sweet politics. With the unquestionable thirst to create, I utilize video, audio, drawing, painting, and more. When it comes to 2D art making, I have found surrealism to be the most fun way to tell stories. I get energized from inventing, exploring the unknown, and creating spaces with color and form while distorting reality.
Image provided by Julia Morrison
I am fascinated with the world from above and captivated by the fields, rivers, and roads that surround the Central Illinois area. From the sky each field is unique, the patterns being created by the machinery farmers use to plant and plow their fields. The details of each field are further shaped by the crops used that year and the years before. These independent actions result in unintentional beauty when viewed from above.
With all my paintings, I begin with a natural color and an extreme color, allowing the two colors to come together and determine what comes next. The third dictates the fourth and so on. The final color combinations are a result of many layers reacting with one another. The lines you see in my work provide a physical barrier between colors and bring a third dimension to my paintings. In real life, they represent the roads, creeks, and property lines that divide the fields of Central Illinois and the farmland that makes up the Midwest.
I hope that people take away from my work that there is an unrecognized beauty in every detail of the land around us. Our ground-based lives restrict us from seeing this unique perspective. I hope that my work inspires others to explore the world from a new vantage point and find beauty in what they see.
Images provided by Kelly Hieronymus.
I started making art in the mid-1990s, focusing on photography and mixed media. Now years later, as a scientist in my everyday life, I’ve found I still crave a space for art. I’ve continued with mixed media, and as I developed a love for growing plants, I wanted to incorporate it into a form of art. I gather the floral and faunal offerings of my surroundings throughout the seasons, whether at home in the Midwest or traveling across the country, to create imaginative representations of the outside world. This has also become a collective form of art, as friends and family find and gift me with natural items they find attractive to include in my work. I remember who gave me each piece, and where it came from around the world. I collect, organically preserve, and compose each item in my natural portraits, creating an intersection of seasonality and ecosystems.
The aesthetic of my art is a reflection of my merged expertise – I delicately mount each item using the traditional tools of specimen display, merging my interests in both art and scientific observation. This process of searching for these tiny objects in the world, and considering how to relate them to one another in a finished art piece have required me to slow down and pay attention to the environment, which even in an urban space has much to offer: magical niches of mushrooms hidden under fallen magnolia leaves at my grandmother’s home, or a collection of moss glistening with dew by a baseball field. For the audience, the final art piece beckons them to do the same thing- take the time to look at the tiny details and whimsical architecture of each composition.
Images provided by Cris Hughes.