I became obsessed with Morley and his art about two years ago after discovering him randomly via Instagram. Using bold-faced typographic posters, he wheat pastes his art around Los Angeles neighborhoods. His inspiring, relatable pieces instantly connected with me; he specializes in art that combines hope and humor with embedded tidbits of wisdom — pretty simple in concept — that make you go “ahh, there’s the meaning of it all.” Oh, and he is prominently featured in nearly every piece.
I made it part of my mission to discover at least one piece of his artwork while visiting a friend in L.A. about a year ago, and luckily, I was able to find two.
I was humbled recently to be able to interview him and get deeper insight into his creative process; that which has cemented him as one of the most popular artists of the L.A. street art scene.
How did you get your start in the LA art community?
“Well, the great thing about street art is that getting your start just means going out and doing it. You don’t need permission or entry past a velvet rope, you just need to take whatever meager tools and originality you can muster and start injecting your creative expression into the world. I started putting up stickers around New York while I was in college and then when I moved out to Los Angeles it eventually evolved into the posters I’m known for. “
What inspires your art and messages of motivation?
“At their most basic, my intentions are just to be heard by the world I live in, and to offer the relief that comes from discovering that you aren’t alone in a struggle with the feelings you do your best to not be consumed by. This city is packed with people on the verge of giving up or questioning why they haven’t yet. I know these feelings well and if I can offer a few words of hope, encouragement, advice or even just humor, then my mission and my art has value.”
What do you think it is about your art that stands out and has attracted such a following?
“With every piece of work I create, my goal is to create something that can be seen by someone and make that person feel like it was created just for them. That what it said and the minute they discovered it was aligned by God or the universe or whatever. That it applies to them and something they’re going though so uniquely that it might be in some way profound. Now- if I can have that for the hundreds of people who might walk by something I’ve posted before it gets ripped down or painted over- that’s the highest level of success I could ask for. It’s all about creating something that’s personal and specific but also universal and relatable. On the occasions that I’ve come close to something like that, I think it’s the kind of thing people like to share and offer to their friends and that’s how things catch on I guess.”
When you started out, did you realize how inspirational you would be to others? Did you expect the success that you’ve found?
“I had no expectations when I started, which is perhaps one reason that it has found an audience. Often when you try to make people pay attention they simply ignore you, but when you do something without preconception it stands out a bit more from the crowd. I am always thrilled to know that my work has had any kind of positive impact on people but I also keep in mind that it’s not just me that is responsible. People bring their own lives to each piece. Those lives inform what the piece means to them, so it seems wrong to take more credit that I deserve. To someone who doesn’t relate to my messages, the limits of my technical abilities as an artist are probably pretty glaring.”
What is your favorite piece(s) that you have created?
“I like when I’m able to distill a sentiment and a feeling into as compact as message as I can. To get across a unique feeling in a few words is pretty challenging so when I’m able to do that, I’m happy. In that way, one of my favorites is “Let’s Fall In Love Like Both Our Parent’s Aren’t Divorced.””
Have you had anyone reach out to you and tell you how your art has touched them or changed their life?
“I am frequently contacted by people in that way and it’s always humbling and encouraging and intimidating all at the same time. Hoping that people are touched by my work and knowing they are is a strange feeling that’s fraught with pressure to keep making work that’s honest and vulnerable and hopefully as effective.”
Where will your next piece be featured/a piece or show you are excited to showcase? / For those not in LA, will you be visiting and featuring your art in any other cities soon?
“Well, I’m always making art for the street — and since I do this illegally, I can’t really say where and when it’ll pop up. But I do have a gallery show that will be at a place called “eWKUKs” at: 527 N. Fairfax Ave Los Angeles, CA 90036.”
Any special advice for artists hoping to follow your path?
“My advice is always to hold true to who you are and embrace the flaws that are specific to the life you’ve lived. It takes work to create art that isn’t derivative of the artists that inspire you- but if you filter your art through not only your strengths but your weaknesses as well, it will bloom with truth and truth tops technical skill and marketability every time.”
If you want to check out more about Morley, his art, or purchase prints, visit his website by clicking here.
Originally published at medium.com