Morgan Rice Intellectual Profile

1.   I am a studio art major, and I admit that when I was deciding on a major the decision came quickly for me.  Art has always been something I was extremely interested in, so it only made sense to pursue it beyond high school.  I definitely enjoy studio classes the most of any I take, and I have felt that studio time with good instruction and critique has been crucial for my skills in art.  Beyond that, I have tried a variety of different classes in many different fields and have enjoyed most of them.

2.  I really enjoyed Mark Amerika’s television screen war installation piece at the Denver Art museum.  It was part of a show called Blink which was in the museum early last year.  The installation room was completely dark except for several groups of televisions on the floor that were laying face up.  Each screen only played a different color of light, or sometimes two colors in stripes.  Sound clips from different famous war movies played and there were a lot of marching and battle noises as well. Each of the sound clips was synched with the television screens, so if I closed my eyes, it felt like I was there in the scene. Whenever there was an explosion or heavy gunfire, the corresponding television screens would light up abruptly and flash each time a noise was heard. It was more immersive than most other installations I have been to, and I liked that it made me feel like I was inside of a war movie.\  It is the first one on this page.

3. The book I have recently been obsessed with is not so much a book as a series of pictures. It is a called “The Arrival” and was written by a brilliant artist/illustrator named Shaun Tan. Through a comic book/graphic novel-style series of images, it tells the story of a young husband and father leaving his home country for a new country. Each illustration is meticulously penciled and there is a wonderful amount of imagination and an inventive nature to each piece. The words on buildings in the new world are unfamiliar characters, and certain habits and customs are shown by the inhabitants that are unfamiliar to the main character. Tan describes the goal of this piece to be “making the reader feel as if they were my family moving to a new country”, and so all of the buildings, animals, fruits, scenery, etc. are completely invented and unfamiliar. The style and flow of the book are extremely moving, and I admit that that this is the only book that has ever brought a tear to my eye. The storytelling that takes place in the imagery is so rich that words are not needed. It is a beautiful book and a great read.

4. When I was 17, I got a job apprenticing at a tattoo shop. Since then, I have been through a blur of different jobs and teachers and apprenticeships. Last spring, a tattoo artist moved in downstairs, and we immediately began talking. He is an incredible tattoo artist who decided to take me on as his student. My first few apprenticeships ended abruptly, and my instructors ended up switching shops, moving away, getting arrested, etc. Since April, I have been working with my current instructor, and I have learned much about the art, history, and application of tattoo. I have permanently marked over a hundred bodies (including my own) and am always excited to do more. Nothing has held my attention like tattoo. Each time I tattoo the canvas is different, the design has to be different (based on customer demands), and I am racing against the clock to try and finish before the person reaches the inevitable point where they refuse to sit any longer. There is nothing like working with a living canvas, and there is a thrill that comes from knowing that a mistake cannot ever be fixed.

5. Which blogs do you check regularly? Honestly I am slightly behind the times and somewhat new to the blog scene. The few blogs I do read are usually pretty craft projects, hair braiding tutorials, etc. I keep up with my friend’s blogs about their everyday life, but I have to admit, it is not something I have quite gotten into.

6. Which cultural event has really impressed you lately? I got the chance to see The Lion King and the Beull Theater in Denver a while back. I cannot believe how moved I was by the play. The artistic direction was wonderful, the music was amazing, and the set blew me away. The costuming and effects were also nice, and I especially liked the fact that several animals were held on poles above the dancers. It gave it a very natural and earthy feel, and the animals moved in a very organic way. I would have to say that the movie is probably my favorite Disney film of all time, so the fact that I consider the play to be a hundred times better than the movie says something. I really enjoyed the mixture of African culture, both in the movie and play, with American culture. The American culture is subtle, but the fact that it was a film that was created and animated in the United States changes the aesthetic slightly. I feel that there are also many different scenes which parallel huge historical events, (the hyena scene where Scar’s army marches like Nazi soldiers) and the plot being based partly on biblical stories and Shakespere’s “Hamlet” add a nice touch.

7. I have been reading a ton of articles lately about SOPA. I admit that I am fairly frustrated with the idea with it, and will be more frustrated if it goes through. I understand that there is a lot of copyright infringement going on, and many websites offer free media content that should be paid for. However, I feel that even if this is passed, it is not going to completely fix the problem, and in the process will create many new problems. The thought that Wikipedia might not be something I could go to whenever I had a question is disturbing. I have probably learned more from clicking my way around Wiki than I did in my entire four years of high school. One example I like to bring up is specific to illegally downloaded music. Musicians are upset because they are making less money on their albums than ever before, since any album they would release nowadays would make its way to a pirate site instantly. However, many new musicians realize this, and so put their music out for free download. As a result, their music can be discovered by many different people, and without the commitment to buying an album, a curious listener could simply download an album. Artists like Pretty Lights give their music to the public, and allow for donations but do not require them for the download. I assure you that Pretty Lights makes plenty of money, despite giving his music away for free. As a result of free downloads he has plenty of fans and sells out venues right and left. I feel like embracing the way that media sharing has gone is better than trying to undo it. If illegal piracy could happen once, it could happen again.

8.  I believe that this might be more of a group of ideas than one single idea, but last summer I went to Burning Man and it changed the way I look at things. I expected to go to a giant party in the desert that was completely fun and whimsical, but nothing more. What I found was an entire culture of people who are able to express themselves, create unique and ephemeral artwork, and bond together as a community. There is no money at Burning Man. The ticket, travel expenses and food are all money that you put into it, but when you get there, money is no longer a commodity. Instead, people trade services, artwork, root beer floats, you name it. The idea of a place that is free and where you do not have a schedule, or a job, or a required place to be at any one time is great. All ‘burners’ go through a phase of withdrawal after Burning Man, and I definitely went through a phase of “why can’t the world be this way forever?”. The unfortunate truth is that Burning Man requires a lot of funding, tickets are in the hundreds, etc. It is still nice to live one of every 52 weeks in the tribe that is Burning Man. It definitely changed my views on the world.

9.  I have never been to MCA Denver, and the few times I went to Bmoca, it was for a one-night event or some kind of show. I will write again about the DAM. I have seen almost every new show at the DAM for the last three years, and am sometimes disappointed with the artwork that comes through, but not always. One piece that I always visit is Fox Games by Sandy Skoglund. The overwhelming amount of red in the room always gets my attention. It feels so strange to be trapped in a mini world where everything, down to the forks on the table, is painted red. It sometimes makes me feel uneasy, and I find walking on the path to be difficult at times because the red paint makes me dizzy. I think it is especially interesting that the foxes are the only thing in the work that are not painted red. It makes them stand out in a very interesting way. I am not sure what I interpret as the meaning of the piece, but it is aesthetically interesting.

One Response

  1. Morgan, I couldn’t agree more with your thought on the Lion KIng play at the Buell theatre! ah it was so incredible! I thought the best part was the costumes and the makeup. They did an amazing job portraying the animals. I agree with your thoughts on how organically the animals/actors moved and thought the set was beautifully done. I noticed that you mentioned that you went to burning man last summer. I am so jelous! i have always been interested in going to one of those events and learning more about them. I think that is really cool that once you get to burning man people just trade each other for things instead of relying on money. makes me wish everyday life were like that.

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