Artist: Burton Morris
Title: Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
Edition size: 500
Size: 76.2 x 61 cm
Framed size: 117 x 86 x 2 cm *Estimated size
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Burton Morris was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States in 1964.
During his youth, Burton suffered an accident that left him bedridden for several months, it was during this time that he began his first initial sketches drawing his inspiration from comic strips and cartoons that he saw on television. Upon graduating from high school in 1986, Burton went on to earn his bachelor of fine arts degree at Carnegie Mellon University, which led him into a career as an art director in an advertising firm.
Although finding success in this field it was during this period that Burton realized that his true vocation was to be an artist and after a few years in 1990, he founded the Burton Morris Studios in order to become a full time artist.
That year marked the beginnings of his impressive post-Pop icons. For his creations he would choose one subject per composition to create what he calls “an instant happening” for the viewer. In his paintings, Morris energizes every day images with his unique style. Subjects such as a steaming coffee cup, a swirling martini and a dancing popcorn box all take on a new life under his paintbrush. These classic images are seen in his simplified form with action lines indicating movement combined with his rich colours. Apparent in his artwork is the influence of sixteenth century Albrecht Durer’s hatching style and that of the Twentieth century American artist Rockwell Kent.
As Morris matured, so did his artwork, as he continued to develop and define his now signature trademark of his distinctive sword-like slashes which suggest shards of energy which surround and seem to emanate from each of his subjects. He also continued to tighten his brushwork into his present precise style which gives the illusion that his hand painted works are devoid of brushstrokes, thus giving the impression that they are screen printed much akin to the acrylic work from Roy Lichtenstein.
Burton’s first major opportunity was to be taken on by NBC to produce artwork for the hit US sitcom, “Friends”, something Burton continued to do for the full 10 year run of the show. This proved to be a stepping stone to even greater things. He was selected by the International Olympic Committee to create 36 original paintings regarding the spirit of the Olympic Games. The International Olympic Museum hosted a one-man exhibition in Lausanne, Switzerland, during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Morris has created signature images for the 76th annual Academy Awards, the 38th Montreux Jazz Festival in 2005, The Andre Agassi Foundation, the 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the 2012 One Young World Conference and the 2016 US Open Golf Tournament. More recently, Pennsylvania’s largest history museum the Heinz History Center, which is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, presented a 20 year retrospect of Morris’ work from September 2013 to May 2014.
Original artworks have been commissioned for corporations and Institutions such as H.J. Heinz, Chanel, Rolex, Perrier, AT&T, Kellogg’s and the U.S. State Department. In addition, Burton’s artwork has helped to raise millions of dollars for charities worldwide. Morris’ artwork is featured in the collections of The Albright-Knox Museum, The Jimmy Carter Center, The Elysee Museum, The United Nations, The International Olympic Museum, The World of Coca Cola Museum, The Senator John Heinz History Museum and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Private collectors range from Presidents, dignitaries, celebrities and corporate leaders worldwide.
The style of Burton Morris is very simply, POP! It is a continuation of a passion and commitment that started with the greats, such as Warhol, Lichtenstein and Haring, and that Morris has faithfully followed through with, whilst of course stamping his own unique style and presentation on his own creations.
The Pittsburgh Grand Prix piece, was commissioned by the Vintage Grand Prix, in Pittsburgh in 2009. This piece created in an art deco style conveys the nostalgic energy and elegance of the great cars and races of days gone by. Morris has depicted a beautiful vintage BMW racing through Pittsburgh reminiscent of those wonderful 1920’s Monaco backdrops.