Frank Morrison & Urban Jazz
Recently, I discovered an American artist named Frank Morrison, who often draws characters in a variety of scenes from the world of music, sports and what is known in the history of art as Genre scenes of daily life. Morrison's daily sights take place in lively urban streets full of color and movement. His paintings are filled with sensuality and admiration to dark-skinned figures, not to mention "African Queens."
Morrison is an artist born in Massachusetts who moved with his family to New Jersey at an early age. He spent his adolescence there, intrigued by the streets around him, fascinated by the phenomena that shaped his world: a neighborhood DJ’s with their fans at neighborhood parties, colorful neighborhood characters and break-dancers who starred in weekend party-scenes. These filled his world with possibilities and he thought he would be part of it too.
Morrison was a well-known graffiti artist and also an appreciated Breakdance dancer and became part of the Sugar Hill Gang's dance group. During a group tour to Europe he arrived at the Louvre Museum in Paris, there enthralled he decided to return to his roots and become an artist.
Morrison's art is unique and full of expressions. His paintings are characterized by exaggerated body parts and hovering figures. His work is influenced by his varied life experiences and his love and appreciation for his family, his wife Connie, his three sons and daughter, and the presence of God in his life. In addition to his signature, on all his paintings he makes sure to sign the inscription TTG (Thanks To God) meaning thanks for the gifts he received - his family and his talents.
On the website of his works, you can find the title "The Urban Jazz" which attests to the nature of his works that appear in the continuation of the page. The works are full of busy street scenes, home scenes, play scenes and childhood scenes, dance scenes in the church and descriptions of musical scenes from the world of jazz; Stages with musicians, musical instruments, singers and dancers. Fascinating characters that create music and a winding body lined with musical notes, held by a musical instrument, or in a street show with microphones and a gigantic tape recorder. Many paintings of beautiful women wear traditional African clothing along with modern items belonging to urban fashion. In several works erotic scenes, also full of symbolic details from the streets in which he grew and the history of black-people in the United States. Each painting is full of many elements, each of which is a representative symbol of an entire world and one must know the city and the background in order to absorb their meaning.
Among his works is a basketball scene in which players float into the basket in a kind of dance composition, their body parts unnaturally tense, their limbs stretched out in all directions, their muscles highlighted. A background of a starry night and dramatic clouds along with a sheaf of light from an invisible source at the top of the painting give this Genre picture a religious look. It seems that the Christian association is directed, in the center of the work three figures that are intertwined, hovering nobly and referencing toward the Trinity.
Among the works are a number of portraits in his unique style, specific characters in their distinguished facial features, movement and clothing, telling a whole story, enticing the viewer to dive into their world and explore their meaning.
A portrait painting, beyond being a facial and/or body description, can include a variety of details that tell of the world of the character, such as individual clothing, personal objects, items from his private world, his home, his hobbies, even his pet. The symbolism in painting reaches its peak in the 17th century Dutch gold era, at which time the details of story, personal objects, clothing, room appearance and even landscape are widely used. This narrative approach is strongly present in Morrison's work. In my opinion, there is a great deal of magic in these symbolic details, and it is worthwhile to think of them as asking to order a portrait: what the person does in the painting, what he wears, what his hobbies are, objects that are identified with her/him or represent her/his personality.