Morgan Lappin is a collage artist living in the creative ecosystem of Brooklyn, NY. Morgan keeps it really real. It is clear that he lives his life knowing what is important and striving to be free. His words are extremely poignant because he states emphatically that he knows the meaning of life – “Happiness”. Who can argue with an artist with the extreme initiative and focus of a hungry mammal? Morgan makes you feel like getting up and doing what makes you happy because it could actually lead to awesome things like starting a fresh wave of Collage Collectives all over the world. Style.No.Chaser strives for honesty, and when we stumble upon (by pure happenstance and the initiative of Morgan) an artist that is willing to lay everything on the line in unadulterated truth, we have to salute. Salute Mo!!! Keep pressing!
“I started the Brooklyn Collage Collective in December of 2013. I wanted to form somewhat of a superhero team of …”
Please tell us about yourself – place of birth, family, unique habits, quirks, etc.?
I entered this life within the state of New York… Suffern, NY to be exact in 1979. My Mom born and raised in Queens, and my Pops in the Bronx… Sometimes I feel like my existence slipped through the small cracks of chance since my Grandmother survived the Holocaust, so I consider this life a serious gift although I may no act like it. I was raised mostly in Orange County, NY and it wasn’t till 2007 that started to make collage art. My mind always moved so fast, like a constant roulette wheel with 10 fucking metal balls. I suppose one of those balls fell into the Collage Art hole. At the time it was my way to create designs for an original clothing line me and my friend Erik started out of his silk screen shop in his parents basement. It eventually turned into something much bigger than that. Once I moved to Brooklyn 2008 it became a passion. I have many habits.. I don’t think many habits are unique, it’s more about the habits they have that they don’t talk about.
Please tell us about your earliest art memory?
That’s a tough question. I smoke a lot of weed.
Collages sometimes get a bad rap – how did you develop your personal style and are you ever forced to defend it?
I sort of agree with that statement. I still don’t believe it gets the same respect as many other art forms. I myself sort of understand it, but there’s clearly a difference between good collages, and bad collages… just as there are bad paintings, and good paintings. But then again in the end.. it’s all opinion isn’t it? I started doing “typical” collage.. sort of. I started with the traditional tools.. an old school scissor that belonged to my Grandpapa Sam, and some glue… using full pages from World Book Encyclopedias I yanked from my Grandma’s place… I would simply place my own cut characters and place them in different environments which would tell a story and then when I moved to Brooklyn I started creating groupage collages where I was now combining up to a hundred clips to create a bigger work. My first was titled The Machine – a piece where I took around 60 clips of black and white industrial imagery to create one massive looking machine. I soon would follow up with creating my own cities that sort of resembled the collage cities from the old movie Metropolis. I never had to defend my style, I think there has been a big resurgence of collage art, and it’s a really cool close knit global community where you begin to become familiar with a lot of other collage artists. The one interesting and unique side of collage is the collab collages artists work on together and share. I think the level of respect for collage is growing, and I love being part of the force to bring awareness back to an amazing art form that deserves just as much respect as a painter or a balloon animal expert.
What tools do you use in the creation of your art?
My tools have changed over time, but I now use tape, no glue, glue is for forever. With tape, I can make changes as I go. I take little pieces of scotch tape, and I stick those little pieces on my torso, yeah I know it’s strange, the reason for this is because it makes the tape less tacky, so when I need to make a clip change, I can do so without tearing the clip. A lot of schooled artists don’t seem to like that; they’re all about the archival material. I like the idea that my work will evolve over time, that it could change color, or maybe even fall apart… and I ditched the scissors for the most part for the xacto knife and my trusty #11 blade.
What artists do you currently admire the most?
I’m always searching for new collage artists for the most part… but living in Brooklyn, and being part of the art scene, I’m constantly exposed to countless artists that blow my fucking mind. I’m still amazed at how amazingly talented some people are and I love getting excited over new art. I admire the artist who fights for their lives doing what they love, what they believe in. Brooklyn is a place that can chew you up fast, and I think it’s an admirable accomplishment to live your life as an artist and survive in this crazy place.
How has art saved your life?
I love making art, but music is still my #1 passion. The only thing that keeps me alive is the constant flow of creative ideas that will take me multiple life times to accomplish.
Do you believe every artist should be able to make a living solely from their art?
I work my ass off at a full time job so that I can survive and continue doing what I love. If I had figured out how to survive off my art/talent, I would say I’ve reached my life goal. Unfortunately that isn’t my reality but there’s enough time to keep pushing for it right?
What is your favorite movie of all time and why?
Favorite movie, Jacobs Ladder – that movie fucked with me long after I saw it for the first time with my dad and when I first saw it I didn’t quite understand it. The second time it clicked and fucked me up for a while. Tim Robbins was amazing in that movie, non-related I always had a huge crush on Susan Sarandon. I still have a crush on her and I’ve noticed she lives in NYC and attends art shows – hey Susan, I’m all yours baby
Please tell us about the Brooklyn Collage Collective – Why was it formed? What are its ultimate goals? What has been the feedback thus far?
I started the Brooklyn Collage Collective in December of 2013. I wanted to form somewhat of a superhero team of my favorite local collage artists. First there were no rules, I accepted everyone and eventually I realized I had around 30 collage artists who wanted to be part of the collective, and I realized there was no way I could deal with that. The first collage artist I wrangled in would quickly become my partner, Lizzie Gill. She helped me refine the collective and since then we’ve shown all over NYC, Denver, Australia, the United Kingdom, and who knows where next. We also do a lot of live collage events locally and now have a book in the works. Shortly after doing a show in Australia a collage collective was formed there, and we have just begun to work with a bunch of amazing collage artists like Michael Tunk on the West coast who are now forming their own collective so that we can team up to do west coast/east coast shows together. We seem to be shaking up the collage community, and I like it.
What article of clothing, accessory, signature piece, etc. do you think every man should have?
I think everyone should live naked unless it’s freezing outside.
If you could ask anyone in history “What is the meaning of life?” – Who would you ask and why?
I know the meaning to life, its Happiness… obtaining happiness is the hard part.
How can people see your works, buy your works or hire you for projects?
My art and music can be seen and heard on my site: www.morganlappin.com (instagram: @morgan_jesse_lappin)
The talent of the Brooklyn Collage Collective can be found at: www.brooklyncollagecollective.com (@brooklyncollagecollective)
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