Drawing in Cafés by Chuck Morris, MAE Affiliated Artist

Friday, June 1, 2012-Saturday, September 1, 2012

Charles Morris, a Maquoketa Art Experience Affiliated Artist, Maquoketa resident, and husband of artist Rose Frantzen, has been a portrait artist since high school. Portraiture has allowed him plenty of free time for other artistic pursuits, including his small drawings and paintings featured in this exhibition, “Drawing in Cafés.”

Artist Statement

“As I traveled around Europe in college, then around the world, and as I moved around the States through the eighties and nineties and traveled through the present, I’ve found that small sketchbooks can be employed in almost any situation. With a coffee habit developed in Rome, cafés became my favorite places for prolonged drawing sessions. I could discreetly sketch characters of interest or beauty. Or I could go inside myself for inspiration, inventing, designing, or imagining other worlds.

The people around me in cafés and the conversations overheard often inspired images. My drawings and little watercolors could go beyond the autobiographical and become little portraits of strangers. Not necessarily likenesses of those around me, but reflections in style or in allegorical imagery. When I’m working alone, I tend to be self-expressive. In cafés, at bars, and at parties, I could expand into other points of view.

When people see this wildly diverse collection of drawings and paintings, they often ask if I am moving toward some ultimate style. I have to say ‘no.’ I only want to widen myself, to experience and express as much of life as I can. If I were to impose a signature style upon myself, it would necessarily be a limitation that would close me off. The 19th and 20th centuries provided great movements in the expansion of artistic freedom. It seems to me that the last barrier to artistic freedom is the expectation that an artist should be just one thing.”