Rebecca Morris: Stubborn and independent

While out in Los Angeles, I learned about In The Make: Studio Visits with Artists and Designers, a collaborative online project between between photographer Klea McKenna and writer Nikki Grattan. A few weeks ago McKenna and Grattan visited the studio of LA-based painter Rebecca Morris, who is having a work-on-paper exhibition at Harris Lieberman in March. Toward the end of the conversation, they ask Morris what advice has most influenced her. “Be generous,” she replies. I couldn’t agree more.

 Rebecca Morris’s studio in downtown Los Angeles. Photo courtesy In the Make.

Here’s an excerpt from their conversation.

IN THE MAKE: What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them? How do you navigate the art world?

REBECCA MORRIS: It is always an issue of time….I am seriously interested in being a part of a dialogue, feeling an energy larger than myself. Last summer, two artist friends, Mari Eastman and Jill Newman, and I organized a series of panel discussions called “Talks on Painting.” (We are transcribing the recordings of them now.) I was very heartened by how many people came out for them. Panels are a tricky format but it helped that this series was driven by artists for artists. My hope is that this discussion series will be an ongoing thing, in a fluid and seamless way. It’s hard to balance everything— my own work, professional responsibilities and community engagement, but all of it is important to me, so I try my best to stay involved on many fronts.

But in answering this question about the art world, I think it is also important to say here, in total honesty, that there have been times (long times) when I have felt things have been hopeless and pointless, when it felt like very few people understood my work or were interested in what I was doing. And I guess in those periods, I just tried to reverse that energy by redoubling my commitment to my work and soldiering on. It’s probably a strength of mine that I can do this because I’m independent and stubborn. I try not to concern myself with what other people think, and just to stay focused and believe in my work. Ultimately- and I’m not saying this in a dejected way- you only have yourself. In a very literal way we can only depend on ourselves, and that’s empowering. Luckily right now I feel like I have a strong support system around my work, and that’s great, but I recognize that can change again, that it’s not fixed….

Read the entire conversation here. 


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  1. Thanks, Sharon. Another great post; a link to great resource of studio visits; and, great advice–Be Generous.

  2. Amazing! This blog looks exactly like my old one!

    It's on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!
    My webpage > printable calendars

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