AUBURN AVENUE RESEARCH LIBRARY
Frank Morrison (b. 1971) started his journey as a graffiti artist in New Jersey, tagging walls with spray paint. However, it was the opportunity to tour with music artist Sybil as a breakdancer, an influential high school art teacher, and a visit to the Louvre Museum in Paris that opened him up to new artistic and creative avenues. An early indoctrination 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 loss 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.
FRANK MORRISON BOOKS
THE ROOTS OF RAP:
16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop
Featuring the work of award-winning children’s literature artist/illustrator, Frank Morrison, the roots of rap and the history of Hip-Hop have origins that precede DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash. Kids will learn about how rap evolved from folktales, spirituals, and poetry, to the showmanship of James Brown, to the culture of graffiti art and break dancing that formed around the art form; and gave birth to the musical artists we know today. Written in lyrical rhythm by award-winning author and poet Carole Boston Weatherford, and complete with flowing, vibrant illustrations by Frank Morrison, this book beautifully illustrates how Hip-Hop is a language spoken the whole world 'round. Also featured is a foreword by Swizz Beatz, a Grammy Award-winning American Hip-Hop rapper, DJ, and record producer.
Carole Boston Weatherford - Author
Baltimore-born and -raised, Carole composed her first poem in first grade and dictated the verse to her mother on the ride home from school. Her father, a high school printing teacher, printed some of her early poems on index cards.
Since her literary debut with Juneteenth Jamboree in 1995, Carole’s books have received three Caldecott Honors, two NAACP Image Awards, an SCBWI Golden Kite Award, a Coretta Scott King Author Honor and many other honors.
For career achievements, Carole received the Ragan-Rubin Award from North Carolina English Teachers Association and the North Carolina Literature Award, among the state’s highest civilian honors. She holds an M.A. in publications design from University of Baltimore and an M.F.A. in creative writing from University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She is a Professor of English at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.