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20th January 2017

Dogs & DIY: Q&A with artist Jamie Morrison

Described by his sister (and Zetteler Studio Assistant) Becky as “tall, talented and away with the fairies”, artist Jamie Morrison is preparing for his upcoming exhibition, Missing, at Dalston’s Doomed Gallery. Deliberately ambiguous, the title Missing is indicative of a creative curiosity and desire to get people looking for something new that lives outside of their comfort zone, as demonstrated by his diverse palette of subjects. 
Much to our delight, prints and pins by Jamie will soon be available to buy from The Z List. Ahead of Missing, which opens 31 January, we asked Jamie to tell us more about his DIY approach to art, the inspiration behind the show and what he thinks people think of his work. 
Paintings from 'Missing'
So Jamie Morrison, tell us a little about your life, self and art. Who are you, what do you do and where do you do it?
I’m originally from Swansea in South Wales. I grew up there. All of my current interests and practices stem from being surrounded by skateboarding and music there as a teenager. The two seemed to go hand in hand and opened my eyes to the world around me. I’ve done lots of touring and travelling playing music in bands that started there and noting down inspiration along the way. I currently live in London and spend my days working as a freelance artist and designer. 
Swansea Bay
Skate ramp, Mumbles, Swansea
How would you describe your art? What are your influences?
Ed Templeton’s imagery and versatility was a huge early influence. I started searching out his artwork after seeing the Toy Machine video, Jump Off A Building. I liked the way that he was sort of a jack of all trades in the art world. Andy Warhol was also a very early gateway drug. The art teacher in school taught us about the Pop Art movement. His screen-printed works and use of block colour was interesting and attractive. Basquiat and David Hockney are two more of my favourites also. It’s not easy to describe my own work. I use a mixture of paints and Inks, generally on paper and canvas and quite often to create impressionist portraits of important people in my life or block colour, layered scenarios. 

How has the DIY approach to art and creative industry shaped you?
It’s kept me humble and broke.
'Smoking Man'
Tell us more about Missing. What’s the narrative behind the exhibition?
It’s a collection of paintings on canvas, with imagery and ideas that aren’t always on the same coordinates of a conceptual spectrum, but have an underlying theme throughout that ties the pieces together. Or at least, I like to think so. Missing, as a title has an ambiguous element. It can be interpreted as a question or as a statement. Something/someone is missing. What are we missing?

Why Doomed Gallery? How did the exhibition come about?
My friend Matt Martin co-runs the gallery. I met Matt through playing music. He is a dedicated photographer and book-maker. I’m aware of Doomed because of him. It’s a great place and it’s small enough to hopefully fill up and not fear the limelight.

'Searching For Balance'
What do you hope people visiting the exhibition will get out of it?
It would be nice if the work that I’m making makes people looking at it feel something. I don’t really mind if those feelings are negative, I just like the idea of anybody having a reaction to the work. If you come and it turns out you feeling nothing, you can at least get a free beer out it.

Do you know how people interpret your work? What responses do you usually get to it?
I have no idea. Nobody has been bold enough to be too negative directly to me as a response, but that might be happening out of earshot. Sometimes I get compliments on the colour palette I use. These things are getting made either way. It takes courage that I’m not full up with to put them on the wall and say, hey come and have a look. It’d be great if the response was positive. That would help justify what I’m putting my efforts into to but it’s by no means a driving force and I hope that never changes. 
Jamie's studio
Any favourites from the works you’re showcasing as part of Missing?
I’m quite happy with the painting I have made of Wesley Willis. This image is also on the poster for the show. He was a really interesting person who dedicated his life to making art and music. A lot of the songs he wrote are pretty funny, but he is not a joke. 

Can you tell us one thing that has inspired you this week?
I watched the Bruce Springsteen documentary last night and I’m also reading his autobiography. The documentary was pretty much PR for the book, but that aside, I’m getting inspired by the determination to overcome, of The Boss!

If you could tell people to explore the work of one artist who would it be?
Maybe Jean Michel Basquiat.
'Dog Heaven'
What’s coming up for you in 2017?
I have this show on 31 January, and I’m currently working on arrangements for a show in Oakland, California and Austin, Texas in May and June, either side of a music tour. I haven’t got any further than that with my plans yet but I’m trying to make more art and more plans all the time. 

See ‘Missing’ on 31 January at Doomed Gallery, 6 - 9pm.

Explore more of Jamie’s work at gotvitaminc.com and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
'Wesley Willis' from 'Missing'

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