An early indoctrinate into hip-hop culture can be seen through Morrison’s work, which has been dubbed a mash-up of urban mannerism, graffiti and abstract contemporary, and reflects deeply on the lost of human stories from past eras.
Morrison strives to capture people as they are, translating emotions through his paintings and leaving a memoir of our life and times today. His work depicts African-American livelihood in a way that is both familiar and comforting to those who often feel histories have been forgotten and culture has been usurped.
Citing both Ernie Barnes and Annie Lee as forebearers of this tradition, Morrison remarks on his practice, “My work dignifies the evolution of everyday, underrepresented people and places within the urban landscape. I seek to both highlight and preserve the soul of the city through the lens of hip-hop culture and urban iconography. I want people to experience the visual rhythms that choreograph life for the average, everyday person.”
Morrison’s work has been featured at Art Basel, Scope Miami and Red Dot art fairs, and shown at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (sponsored by ESSENCE ART and Toyota) and Mason Fine Art Gallery (Atlanta, Georgia).
His solo exhibitions include “Frank Morrison: Live, Love and Jazz” (2013) and “Graffiti” (2014), both at Richard Beavers Gallery (Brooklyn, New York).
The William H. and Camille O. Cosby Collection, and the private collections of art patron Peggy Cooper-Cafritz and athlete Derek Jeter include work by Morrison. He has also been commissioned to create works for recording artist, producer and art curator Swizz Beats, and Emmy Award-winning writer and producer Jordan Peele’s film “Get Out”.
An acclaimed illustrator Morrison’s work can be found in numerous award-winning children’s books including Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award winner Jazzy Miz Mozetta, NAACP Image Award winner Our Children Can Soar and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, Little Melba and her Big Trombone. His literary client list includes international book publishers Penguin Books, HarperCollins, Hyperion, Random House and National Geographic Kids.
Continuing to celebrate the teacher that changed his life by insisting he visit his first art museum, Morrison signs each of his works “TTD” (“Thanks to God”) to also show his gratitude for God’s plan in positioning him where he is today. “I know where I am is not by accident. I want to just be able to continue doing what I do.”
Frank Morrison lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and five children.
More about Frank Morrison
Frank Morrison Born in Massachusetts then brought by his family to live in New Jersey at an early age, Frank Morrison was reared and spent his formative years there, an affable, precocious and inquisitive youngster whose curiosity about everything around him seemed limitless.
Then, as an energetic pre-teen, he was interested and enthused by the youthful fads, interests and activities which marked his world: the neighborhood D.J’s with their followers and fans at neighborhood parties, the colorful tags of local characters which were splashed across fences, parks and buildings, and the loose-jointed “B” boys and break-dancers who enlivened week-end party scenes. In this setting his world was suddenly rife with possibilities and he became convinced that he, too, could DO this!
In no time, invested with a brilliant flow of creativity, his eye for and execution of colorful tags and R.I.P scenes began to bring him considerable street recognition and local acclaim. But what soon pleased him more was his mounting reputation as a “B” boy–break-dancing, popping and locking with such skill and control that he became a regular on the dance crew of R & B star Sybil.
After a couple of years traveling with her, he joined the touring crew of The Sugar Hill Gang, appeared on “Show Time At The Apollo”, performed on the video “Rap Mania”, and with the dance company of the movie, “New Jack City”. In fact, it was while dancing and touring the nation and European continent that he chanced to visit The Louvre Museum in Paris that he “met his Muse”.
As he walked the halls there, he was consumed by what he saw. Looking at the work of the Masters in The Louvre, he was reminded of what he had unconsciously reached for in his sprawling graffiti pieces; he recognized realms of color, style, passionate expression and possibilities that he had never before imagined.
Upon returning to New York, Morrison became a regular at local museums and galleries–knowing that he had to return to his art. With a renewed vision and an informed eye, the still teen-aged Morrison followed his heart, began the development of an expressive style of his own, crafted his first portfolio, and set out to market his paintings.
One need take only a cursory view/examination of his portfolio or his work en gallery to find that his power and inspiration are products of his deeply religious grounding and his loving commitment to his family. His innate musicality, natural rhythmic bent and intrinsic understanding of physical/spiritual/emotional expression both invade and explode from his paintings.
Notable collections of Morrison s art are owned by former New York City School Chancellor Rudy Crew, New Orleans Senator Gregory Tarver, renown actor/philanthropist Bill Cosby who prides himself on nurturing the talents of emerging African American artists, and Dr. Lorraine Hale among others.
His work has enhanced the settings of televisions shows “Malcolm and Eddie”, “New York Undercover”, “Cosby” and has been a featured artist on the Home Shopping Network. Morrison has received commissions from the irrepressible radio/TV commentator Tom Joyner, the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, and executed serially mounted musical scenes for the compact discs “Impulsively Ellington: A Tribute to Duke Ellington. and Down-to-the-Bone s “Crazy Vibes and Things”.
His artwork has been displayed in prestigious locales shows such as “The National Black Fine Arts Show” produced by Jocelyn Wainwright, at the Savacou Gallery in Manhattan, and was honored and given a one-man show at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture sponsored by ESSENCE ART and Toyota.
He earnestly declares that he is rendered speechless with pride when he finds his work displayed adjacent to and in conjunction with Romare Bearden originals. His initiatives include publication of two illustrated children s books “Zazzy Miz Mozetta” and “Harlem Morning”. Which will be readied for publication in fall 2004.
Morrison’s work is inspired, not only by his rich and varied life experiences but, by his love and gratitude for his family–his wife Connie, three sons and a daughter and the omnipresent Hand of God. Each of his paintings bears his signature, of course, accompanied by the notation “TTG” representing and reminding all of his “Thanks To God” for the blessings of his gifts–his family and his talents.
- 2018 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
- 2017 Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books – Clayton Byrd Goes Underground and One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance
- 2017 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work Nomination – Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
- 2017 NYPL’s Best Books for Kids – One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance
- 2015 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor – Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
- 2005 Coretta Scott King, John Steptoe Award, New Talent – Jazzy Miz Mozetta
- 2017 Bank Street’s Best Children Books of the Year – The Quickest Kid in Clarksville
- 2017 CCBC Choices – The Quickest Kid in Clarksville
- 2017 CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People – The Quickest Kid in Clarksville
- Spring 2016 Junior Library Guild Selection – The Quickest Kid in Clarksville
- 2016-17 Nominated for North Carolina’s Children’s Book Award – The Quickest Kid in Clarksville
- 2016 Bold and Fearless’s 28 Books Every Black Girl Should Read This Black History Month – Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
- Amazon’s Best Books of the Month: Ages 6-8 for February – The Quickest Kid in Clarksville
- NYC Reads 365 Recommended Reading List for Grade 4 – Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
- 2015 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award – Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
- 2015 NAACP Image Award Nomination, Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
- 2015 CCBC Choice – Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
- 2015 CL/R SIG Notable Book for a Global Society – Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
- 2015 Bank Street College of Education, Best Books of the Year – Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
- 2015 Bank Street College of Education, Best Books of the Year – I Got the Rhythm
- 2015 Anti-Defamation League’s February Book of the Month – Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
- 2015 Books All Georgians Should Read – I Got the Rhythm
- 2014 CSMCL Best Multicultural Books – Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
- 2012-1013 Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee – Play,Louis,Play
- USA Today 4.5 star review of Stars in the Shadows
- 2010 NAACP Image Award for Our Children can Soar