hannahmorrisartist

Urban Birds, in place

My mother beat me to it. She and my father visited New York City before I could and visited Convene where four of my works—the commissioned urban birds pieces (see earlier blog post)—now adorn the walls of the 530 Fifth Avenue building. She took some photos for me. Visiting the site for myself is on my list but first, I have to get enough work done for my upcoming solo show at Northern Daughters that I stop having panic attacks.

Convene_UrbanBirds_2_HannahMorris.jpg
Convene_UrbanBirds_3_HannahMorris.jpg

Urban Birds

In May, I did a commission for interior designer Felipe Bastos, who spearheaded the design of Convene’s newest office and event space in Manhattan. After learning about my work through my blog, he contacted me about making large-scale painting/collages to be installed in the garden and bird-themed office space in the new building. By large-scale, I mean 4 x 6 feet. That’s big for me; the largest I have painted is 30 x 30 inches, and that felt enormous. Given the time constraint (official opening at the beginning of June), we scaled back on the scope and landed on 13 x 20 inch painting/collages which I could then scan or photograph at a resolution high enough to be printed at three times the size. The final result would be 4 x 6 feet images printed on canvas or another substrate.

Work in progress: first stage/layer is the collage base.

Work in progress: first stage/layer is the collage base.

This work happened in an around a day job, and also production for a solo show I’ll have this fall at Northern Daughters. I spent many an early morning and late night in my downtown Barre studio, up on the third floor. I felt like a bird myself, perched up, looking out into the dark through my brick-wall facing windows. It’s not the easiest thing to do--a commission--but this one was easier than others I have done, mainly because Felipe was so organized. And clear. Not only did he send along a detailed sketch for what he envisioned but also reference shots and color swatches. His energy was infectious. I also just like making bird people. Morphing a bird and human into a new, animated, and slightly awkward figure is entirely satisfying. The biggest challenge was working with yellow - making the infamous NYC yellow cabs fly through the air in mundane yet surreal fashion.

All four panels in progress in my studio.

All four panels in progress in my studio.

Felipe and his team ended up printing the digital artwork on metal. I thank Paul Rogers for his photography skills in shooting the smaller, final artwork and producing excellent digital files.

Sample on metal.

Sample on metal.

Another sample on metal.

Another sample on metal.

The merging of several worlds and fields--interior design, art, illustration, and architecture--was exciting for me who is multidisciplinary by nature. I’m looking forward to seeing the space and work when I’m next in the city.

A small version of the final framed piece printed on metal.

A small version of the final framed piece printed on metal.

Unfolded

People are often interested in the process of how I make collage paintings. It comes down to layering one detail on top of another, and another, and so on. I am at once a craftswoman, an artist, and a laborer. I mention that last one because it’s laborious, even tedious at times, but I can’t help but enjoy that monotony. I like repetition as much as I like spontaneity. After all of these steps, a (hopefully) unified piece appears. I’m not saying that this final art work isn’t important; I just don’t see it as the goal. What I produce in the end is a culmination, a travelogue of the visual journey I’ve taken. Layers and detail. I seek out the stories that happen in between.

These are process shots of Nearly High Noon, gouache, Flashe, and paper collage on board. 10 x 10 in. 2019.