One-on-one with Allen Morris

Boneshaker Press is proud to introduce you to Allen Morris a new Boneshaker artist contributing to the third volume of Encounters with the Imaginary. Check out Allen on his website !

What’s your background?

I grew up in rural Mississippi, exploring different worlds through books, media, and wandering the endless imaginations of a young boy in backyards.

What got you interested in the arts to begin with?

Video games, anime, and cartoons were doing amazing things in the 90s. I couldn’t avoid getting absorbed in the art that was constantly surrounding me. Eventually, I started mimicking those ideas in binder notes, and eventually sketchbooks.

Painting 'Resplendent' by Allen Morris

When did you decide to dedicate yourself to art?

One day, I was reading a book and it hit me that someone had illustrated the cover. It was earth-shattering to realize that could be a career—a realization that blossomed into a dream that would follow me through art school and every choice I’ve ever made since.

Do you remember the first piece of art you made that you were really proud of? The one that made you say “yes I am an artist!”

I sure do, and it definitely doesn’t hold up. This was an in-depth drawing I did my freshman year of college.

Drawing Allen Morris did his freshman year of college.

Do you collect anything?

I sure do, and it definitely doesn’t hold up. This was an in-depth drawing I did my freshman year of college.

What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?

I keep a very steady schedule. Coffee, lunch, and dinner happen very consistently so I can get the maximum amount of painting in. It’s a work ethic handed down from my parents who are notoriously dedicated. If I don’t feel like I’ve gotten enough work done in a day I’m notoriously cranky…

Do you ever feel like giving up and doing something else? If so, why and how have you overcome that feeling?

Every day. I have to have personal time in the morning just to beat back the demons of self-doubt that scream that I should go get a non-freelance job. I know, though, that every hour I spend not fueling that creative fire I get from painting is a truly wasted hour.

Personal work from Allen Morris

What themes/ideas do you pursue?

I’ve started to realize that I’m very classical. All my work seems to stem back from a trip to Italy where I was overwhelmed with the history of classic painters and sculptors. Within the frame of those grandiose ideas I can easily fit to themes and cycles of history that I see or my own personal dramas of loss and love.

What is your dream project? If there were no time/money restrictions what would you create?

I want to paint grand scenes like in Reclamation/Ruination every day, hopefully diving deep into some wonderful and made-up history I’ve yet to fully see.

Painting "Reclamation / Ruination" by Allen Morris
Reclamation / Ruination

What advice would you have given yourself ten years ago?

Read a lot of Hemingway. There’s so many answers to questions you’d yet to ask and you could have avoided a few pitfalls.

How has your practice changed over time?

I’ve leaned heavily into the happy accidents. I try and make my beginning steps as ludicrous as possible in the hopes that I can find some drastic change that can only come from fate.

What does visual storytelling mean to you?

Everything. I can answer a lot of questions at once, here. All I want to do is inspire someone like I was, and still am, inspired by fantastical art.

Painting 'rest' by Allen Morris

What’s your main challenge when beginning a new piece of art?

Sorting through the calamity of ideas I get when a theme hits me. It’s hard to break down those intricate patterns in my brain and twist them into something personal and meaningful to others. I still haven’t achieved it.

Painting 'Melee' by Allen Morris

What is the most vital/indispensable tool in your studio?

My kitchen. It’s not in the studio, but my passion for cooking and enjoying my time there gives me the right amount of space from an in-depth project.

Would you eat the moon if it were made of spare ribs?

I’ve probably eaten a moon’s worth of ribeye at this point, but the spare ribs wouldn’t pair as well with the whiskey.


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