Painting above: Just Who Is The Key?
Written by: Christopher Selomon Closson
When you hear the phrase “live painting” I’m sure some names that come to mind are Alex Gray and Chris Dyer. For me, the first name will always be the artist I met while traveling the country during the apocalyptic year of 2012, Christopher Morphis. He let myself and 8 other homeless hippies sleep in his house and he fed us the most delicious food. I first witnessed a live painting performance when he took me to a show he was doing and I was amazed!
There is a reason that Christopher has live painted for Papadosio, Matisyahu and currently Rebelution. He is extremely talented and authentically grateful for every single opportunity he gets. In this interview with Christopher, we get into his secrets of success, how everyone can follow their dreams and what “One Love Consciousness” means. This is one of the most special interviews I’ve been able to do and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Do you prefer Chris or Christopher?
Christopher or “your face” 🙂
Your Face, how would you describe your art to someone who has never seen any of your work?
My work is part visual art and part live visual performance. I take time to treat each painting as a sacred opportunity to channel the collective conscious energy of something greater than myself. My concepts range from images of visions during deep meditative experiences and reflections from observing my own different states of mindfulness.
I love it when people talk about mindfulness! How did you get started with painting and what did it take to be able to pursue it full time? What do you do that makes you so successful?
I have always loved to do art, mainly just drawing before I was in high school, but got into aerosol and airbrush around that time. Then when I was 18, I did my first painting. The key to being a full time anything is being consistent in your faith, confidence, and mindfulness. You have got to believe in yourself and your dreams without a doubt. I believe what makes me so successful is the strong home base I have always had in my family and friends that have supported everything from the very beginning. I wouldn’t be here without them!
Speaking of friends and family, I heard through my good friend Ashton Robertson, AKA Spaceship Earth, that you were touring with Matisyahu doing live painting for him and now you are traveling with Rebelution! How do you get involved with musicians at the level that these two are?
Honestly, I just went up to them at their shows and asked them if I could, after showing them the art I had already been painting live. Being on tour with Rebelution, Matisyahu, Slightly Stoopid, Papadosio, and many more bands, they have been extremely supportive of live painting and we are eternally grateful.
Now I first learned about Live Painting as being a thing in late 2012 when I met you. I had never seen that done before. When did you start live painting and what inspired you to do it?
I was told when I was young that I had to do graphic design to make any “real money” as a professional artist. So for years I pursued a career as a graphic design artist and just painted as a favorite hobby in my spare time. Around that time, my love woke up from her dreams one morning and told me of a vision; she saw me doing art on stage and I was moving in and out of screens dancing while painting. This really intrigued my imagination of what lay ahead for my art. Then one day online I saw a video of Alex Grey (my favorite artist) painting at a show to live music and knew this is what I was meant to do.
Do you remember the first time you live painted?
It was at a small venue here south of Houston Texas, where I live with, my favorite band SUN SALUTATION check them out!
Were you nervous? What happened with the painting after you finished it?
I was a little nervous, but I was really excited to do something I had dreamed of for so long to music I really loved. At the end of the show, the owner of the venue freaked out about how great the whole performance was and bought the painting! When this happened, after just painting live for the first time, I knew it had to be a good sign that I was on the right path.
I like to say, follow your dreams no matter how far they seem and you’re doing it! I’ve seen you paint in your studio and I’ve seen you paint while on stage during live music and it’s a completely different vibe. How does the music during live painting affect you?
I am channeling the vibrations of the whole experience (music, crowd, venue, intention) into the image that is being created. I take time for mediation before the performance and am gifted a vision. I work to bring forth this concept to the energy of the music causing the finished product half pre-meditated and half improvisational.
Speaking of when I first met you, I was traveling in a van with 8 other stinky hippies across the country when we arrived at your studio in Texas late at night. You had never met most of us but from the very beginning you were downright generous with feeding us, letting us make art with your supplies and making sure we had everything we needed. Why were you so generous to us, even though you had never met us?
We are all one. 🙂
I really do believe this and know that part of me is connected to every person that exists. Acceptance of this connection enables us to let go of boundaries we put on our love for others. That experience of hosting you all was a very important one for me, and I am very grateful for it.
We are very grateful for that experience as well. On your official website MorphisArt.com, it describes your mission as an artist is to “inspire the world to be more mindful, create their reality and live in one love consciousness.” How do you achieve this mission by doing art? Also, what is “one love consciousness”?
When giving descriptions to viewers, I explain how this message is being projected through concepts and images that I am creating! I generally see/paint visions with people taking time for reflection in nature and awareness of their connection to the earth.
At every event we have a booth/mobile art gallery where discussion is held throughout the night on how we are able to live our dreams. We discuss taking time everyday to breathe and clear yourself of distraction. I tell others to listen in these times of mediation when your intuition can be the clearest.
The concept of “One Love Consciousness” simply means love everyone else as you love your self, that we are all equal.
You never cease to amaze me Christopher! With all this going on, what keeps you motivated in life?
My beautiful daughters and their beautiful loving moms! All of my awesome friends and associates who hold me accountable. The fact that we control our reality and can create whatever experience we want in life.
Team work makes the dream work! What is the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
Say Thank You!
Are there any projects or other important adventures you want people to know about?
My New SOLO Performance Act we just featured opening for Matisyahu! You can check out videos on our Morphis Art Collective YouTube Page! Also, Anamorphosis Art – the collaborative work of Ania Amador & Christopher Morphis. You can learn more about this one at AnamorphosisArt.com!
And please check out Morphis Art Collective – A Visual/Audio experience featuring live production by Dashr that can be found at https://soundcloud.com/morphisartcollective
We are Broadcasting live on periscope @morphisartcollective and you can follow us on Instagram @morphisart!
Beautiful! My last question for you is what advice do you have for other aspiring artists who want to make this their career?
Think with your heart,
It’s all in your head.