Artist Interview: Philip Morgan

July 01 2016

Cooper: Where is home to you Phil? Is there a place you would rather live?

Morgan: Home for me is a place called Penarth, which is just outside of Cardiff in South Wales. I have lived in parts of Cardiff but now live back in my hometown. If I could live anywhere in the world it would have to be San Francisco. I’ve been many times over the years and I love the vibe of the city.
How would you describe the life of an artist living and working in Wales?
Living and working here in Wales is comfortable for me as I live near the sea and there is still a city to explore down the road. I think it would be more ideal to be living in London for work, but to be honest it’s only two hours away from where I live, and it’s also a lot cheaper to live here in Wales.

How would you best describe who you are as an artist?

I try to add a lot of humour in my illustrations which I guess also reflects what type of person I am. I would say that I’m easy to get along with. I like socialising over a few beers but otherwise I am always at my studio doodling away. I don’t take things too seriously. I am an early bird so I’m up first thing working on various projects. I like keeping as active with work as much as possible.

How would you describe your work to someone unfamiliar with it, and without being able to show it to them?

I would describe my artwork as bold and colourful. I tend to work with about four different colours on each piece and keep the work vibrant. I like to add play on words in my pieces to make people laugh.

What is your relationship with skateboarding as it relates to art making?

I grew up skateboarding from the age of eight years old. I was in a band through my twenties also, but I don’t play music anymore. Skateboarding actually got me back in to my art about six years ago when I designed a bunch of skate graphics for my friend’s skate company called Crayon Skateboards. I always dreamed of one day seeing my art on a wizz plank. Both my skateboard and bass guitar are gathering dust as I’m too busy painting these days.

Tell us about Salad Days, the recent group exhibition that you curated and contributed to? Any other current or future projects you are involved in that you would like to share with us?

Salad Days was my first group art exhibition I curated hear in the City of Cardiff. I asked twenty international artists from the UK, US, Canada and Australia that I have had the pleasure of being in group shows previously to come on board. Michael C Hsiung, Luke Pelletier, French and Sean Morris were just some of the artists involved in the exhibition based on illustrations reflecting their younger ‘hey days’. It was a well received show and I’m now working on putting another exhibition together in 2015 hopefully in London with a bit of luck.

Who was the person or what was the thing that initially made you want to become an artist?

I can’t really remember what got me in to art in the first place. I can always remember drawing from a very early age and it’s something I have always enjoyed doing. I guess it’s something I have always been able to turn my hand to when needed. I have had a lot of different jobs over the years and it’s really nice to finally be working for myself. Being my own boss.

What might you be doing if you weren’t making art?

If I wasn’t doing art for a living I think i would still like to do something creative. Maybe focus on music again.

Has being an artist affected your personal life?

It has a little bit, but I’m not complaining. My girlfriend Beth was another reason for me getting back in to art when she was earning a graphics degree. Beth is very supportive when it comes to my work along with my family.

What is your relationship with the Internets?

My relationship with the internet is a funny one. I have stopped using social network sites like Facebook because I found myself wasting so much time on it. I use Instagram, Flickr and Tumblr to promote stuff I’m working on. I’m always checking my emails to stay in contact with people. It has certainly helped with getting people to see my illustrations which can’t be a bad thing.

Tell us about the last commercial gig that you turned-down, and why?

I haven’t really turned down any commercial work so far. I have started to turn some work away because I have been busy working on projects that need a lot of my time. I try to make time for all work if I can.

What has been the greatest singular source of inspiration or influence on your work?

The greatest inspiration to my work is an obvious one, but I would again have to say my girlfriend and my close friends and family. My studio is at my Dad’s house, so I see my folks a lot. We have always been a close family and my Dad is one of the funniest people I know.

If you had $250 to spend in two hours, how would you do it?

You would definitely find me in a good pub drinking some good ales with a bunch of good drinking partners, haha!

Final words?

Thanks to everyone who has said kind things about my work, or bought any of my art. Those are the good people who keep me doing what I love doing. Stay wild forever…
Interview by Justin Cooper © 2014