|TAZEWELL MORTON, a prominent southern artist born in Gulfport, Mississippi, and college educated at Auburn University in Alabama. Read more about the details of his life here. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)|
SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM INTERVIEW #9: TAZEWELL MORTON
Hallelujah for LIFE and ALL of LIFE's ABUNDANCE. For Kat's 20th day of her Blogtoberfest #12 being hosted on her blog, "I Saw You Dancing," she asked us to write about the gratitude we experience in our lives.
I decided I would direct the expression of my gratitude towards the ABUNDANCE of ARTISTS that I have in my life just by living in Decatur and working in Atlanta, Georgia! Today I am celebrating TAZEWELL MORTON in my ninth SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM INTERVIEW!
|MAGNIFICENCE OF COLOR, SHAPE, AND COMPOSITION. I find TAZEWELL MORTON'S work so rich. All of the images on this blog without my photo credit--like this one here--were taken from TAZEWELL MORTON's online store.|
On one stormy Saturday in September 2012, I had the incredibly good fortune of meeting TAZEWELL MORTON via Jan and Bill Selman, who showcase artists in their home. Because it was storming when I arrived, few visitors were there, and I had the complete attention of TAZEWELL MORTON as we stood surrounded by his work! Talking to him is something akin to falling in a deep well rich with story. I returned the next day with my computer to conduct the following SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIM interview! I recognized a FELLOW PILGRIM when I saw one! My only regret is that I didn't capture the really juicy stories he told me on Saturday!
Spiritual Art Pilgrim Interview Questions
HALLELUJAH TRUTH: Give me your personal definition of ART.
TAZEWELL MORTON: Well it’s the only way of life if you want to learn anything. It talks to you quietly. It is not loud talking. It helps your eyes not your ears.
Of course, it is everywhere. The artist has the opportunity to select whatever they want to create. I think abstract art is something that I think you learn more about yourself because it is strictly feeling, shape, color, and the arrangement of elements. You learn about yourself.
I learn a lot about myself through images, but abstract art is speaking in tongues. We as people could communicate very well by (Tazewell makes different murmuring sounds). We are sensitive enough as animals to understand the communication of these sounds that come out of our mouths--That is parallel to abstract art…the rhythm of the color conjures up meaning.
It is so much better for me to express myself in art. If I am angry, I can do it in art. I don’t have to talk to anyone. If you are talking it can be painful. So I think art is a way of talking to yourself. And to work out anger or trying to find out about yourself, the visual is so often skipped over.
HALLELUJAH TRUTH: What is SPIRITUALITY to you?
TAZEWELL MORTON: It is a feeling. Spirit lifts you up. It is in the air (Tazewell raises his arms as if they were wings). So often we use birds to symbolize spiritual things. I think we can communicate to others without saying a word. There is something in that air. You can almost feel it.
|TAZEWELL MORTON ARMS OUTSTRETCHED. Warm, full of spirit, Tazewell seems to be constantly embracing LIFE! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)|
Why do we relate to some people, and others we don’t? There has to be something spiritual that we have in common. And I think we need to fertilize that…that is not the right word…we need to cultivate it.
HALLELUJAH TRUTH: What is the connection between the ART you make and your SPIRITUALITY?
TAZEWELL MORTON: Whatever it is that causes me to do this so often is just strictly spiritually. I have no idea what I am going to do on the canvas. But I am led to something. You hope that through your work, your spiritual person will be picked up by other people, and that they will see it and feel it. They might not see it in any other way except through the art. Just like with good cooks. You can tell when food is made with love. When they are really putting something into it as opposed to something slopped together. Again in painting, to take a four-inch house brush and slam it against the canvas, you are telling somebody something.
(Tazewell gestures to the white ceramic bottle of his that I have purchased. It was seemingly an odd choice from among his colorful more flamboyant work.) I would love to do that kind of work and survive. As you live and gain experience you make love (He looks towards me for a comprehension check. I nod interpreting his statement to mean an ARTIST’s WORK becomes something more than an object, something ephemeral.)
I have drifted more towards these precious things that a person brings to their heart (I had done that with his white bottle.). Trying to do something that brings people to hug close to their chests and have it mean something as opposed to telling them something.
HALLELUJAH TRUTH: In what way does your ART enhance your SPIRITUALITY?
TAZEWELL MORTON: It bounces right back to me. It either causes me to laugh, or I say to myself that is just precious or beautiful. So much that it is what I would like to do more of. My friend can do that because he married a lawyer.
I find out about myself--about what I am feeling. It is a confirmation. It is like planting a flower, and when it blossoms, it is confirming itself to us, and it is saying to us, “Here I am.”
|HERE I AM! TAZEWELL MORTON (photo by Hallelujah Truth)|
I have a friend who plays with a yoyo all the time. I have watched him, and he is consistently doing one thing. Going out to the pier and coming back with his yoyo. We all do that, but what he does is very visual.
HALLELUJAH TRUTH: Has SPIRITUALITY always been a source of your ARTMAKING? Why? If not, when did the SPIRITUALITY emerge?
TAZEWELL MORTON: Yes.
HALLELUJAH TRUTH: Why?
TAZEWELL MORTON: Where I grew up the only picture in school was a picture of George Washington. I was visiting a little old lady one day, and she called me Ted. She asked me if I had ever thought about painting. She pulls out a little canvas board and says that I am going to paint a mountain, and I am going to show you the dark side and the light side of the mountain. Now, I grew up on the flattest part of the Gulf…what the hell have I been doing…that was my first experience with art (10), and I never did anymore until I went to college.
The first painting I did won a prize, and it was abstract. I could see in it all sorts of symbology of the coast and that had to be spiritual. I had never done painting in my life. My instructor had me frame it properly, and he entered it in the competition, and I don’t think I have improved one bit. I have tried all things. Maybe that is telling us something. Maybe it is telling us something. All I know is feelings.
|SOMETHING MORE THAN WHAT YOU SEE. The sea life that TAZEWELL MORTON paints expresses the SPIRIT.|
HALLELUJAH TRUTH: What is your purpose for making ART?
TAZEWELL MORTON: What is the purpose for making love? Like the Pope says intercourse is for having children, but nothing is wrong with the pleasure. I can find out about myself so that I am intimate.
|MAKING LOVE? WITH THE SELF PERHAPS? TAZEWELL MORTON's work is complex. TAZEWELL MORTON is complex.(photo by Hallelujah Truth)|
HALLELUJAH TRUTH: Thank you for this interview TAZEWELL!
|TAZEWELL MORTON and HALLELUJAH TRUTH (photo by Bill Selman)|
|GENEROSITY. I became the owner of this TAZEWELL MORTON plate at the conclusion of our interview. I believe TAZEWELL would give everything he made away out of LOVE! Thank you TAZEWELL! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)|
VISIT OTHER SPIRITUAL ART PILGRIMS IN HALLELUJAH TRUTH’S INTERVIEWS!
1. Cecelia Kane (painter, drawer, performance art)
2. Robey Tapp (book sculptor, collagist, painter)
3. Karen Phillips (painter)
4. Carol Ruckdeschel (naturalist, painter, drawer)
5. Flora Rosefsky (drawer, painter, collagist)
6. Jesse Bathrick (in progress)
7. Kenny Whitfield (Bahamian Wood Carver)
8. Ty Butler (photographer)