by Katie Stepp and Julie Lineback

University of West Georgia fine arts instructor Steve Morrison landed MINT Gallery’s 2018 Leap Year Artists because he was not afraid to share his uniqueness with the world.

Steve MorrisonMorrison uses neon acrylic paint, dirt, flour and tar to make his paintings and works with digital animation and puppetry. But one of the more unique materials Morrison works with is bread dough, which is the medium that set him apart from other Leap artists.

“When you find something that is really yours, continue to investigate it and see where it leads,” shared Morrison. “My art has taken me to museums, theater stages and desert islands.”

Founded in 2006 and located in Atlanta, MINT is a space for emerging artists and patrons to come and find their voices. The exhibitions presented at MINT support contemporary emerging artists and strive to showcase the work of some of the most dynamic and innovative emerging cultural producers in the United States.

“MINT selected six artists to participate in its program this year, and I was fortunate to be one of them,” said Morrison. “I’m honored and happy to be part of this group.”

These artists are carefully chosen based off of a competitive application process by a panel with a diverse mix of backgrounds, genders and ethnicities. The applicants represent a diverse selection of talent and have clear ambitions around their artistry.

After dedicating two decades of hard work to his art, Morrison said the application procedure for becoming MINT Gallery’s leap year artist was simple.

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Each artist receives free studio space for six months, is paired with one mentor, receives a $1,000 stipend, attends a two-week residency at the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, and participates in studio visits from critics, curators and visiting artists. They also receive year-long memberships to local arts organizations, attend and teach workshops and classes related to creative interests and needs, and create a body of work to be exhibited in a solo show. These rewards allow support for the emerging artists in the Atlanta-Metro area through community and network development.

In regards to his solo show, Morrison said he plans to increase the scale of his work by making larger-scale bread dough time lapses in natural settings.

“I'm fascinated by the buried jade sculptural ‘masks’ of the ancient Olmec people – art that was immediately buried and therefore never intended to be seen by human eyes,” he shared. “I plan to bury forms in the earth and then have them rise up through the living dough. Watching the earth breathe, so to speak.”

The natural seclusion offered by the Hambidge residency will provide the time and focus Morrison needs for another new aspect of his art.

“I plan to make a few pieces that play with the nature of time,” he described. “I hope to animate natural materials outdoors, allowing the changing light of dawn to dusk become part of the structure of the piece.”

As a leader in UWG’s art department, Morrison continues to encourage his students to explore new ideas, however odd they might seem, because that’s where the magic can often be found.

“Work hard and keep an open mind,” he concluded, “and unexpected things may happen.”

To see more of Morrison's art, visit www.stevemorrisonart.com/.

Posted on July 25, 2018