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Morris, Charles

Published onMar 12, 2021
Morris, Charles

Charles Morris, 2017

Commissioned by University Museums. U2017.168

CHARLES MORRIS began his work as an artist at an early age. Born, in Springfield, Illinois, he received commissions while still in high school to do portraits of residents in his hometown, including current U.S. Senator Richard Durbin.

He received his BFA at St. Louis University in 1984 but actually had worked as an artist since 1979.

As an independent artist, his reputation spread by word of mouth. He has taken commissions from patrons across the country, working in oil, acrylic, watercolor, tempera and pencil. He also has directed and produced numerous multimedia art events in Iowa City and New York City, bringing together artists, filmmakers, musicians, writers and actors to create live, interactive installations.

Morris’ creative interests have led him to abundant projects in diverse media, including art installations, web design, product design, 3D design, architectural design and graphic design. His work includes illustrating a children’s book, and doing collaborative and multimedia portraits.

Since 1993, he has worked on an ongoing series of portraits of children in which they are painted into their own artwork that the children create with the portrait in mind. He also created and developed, a website that provides artists with inspiration for new works of art with 11 dials that each cover a unique category of stylistic elements, allowing artists to receive a random generation of more than 48 billion possible stylistic approaches on the website.

Along with his wife, Rose Frantzen, the artist couple owns and shows their work at the Old City Hall Gallery in Maquoketa, Iowa.

“We live, work, and have a gallery in the little town of Maquoketa, Iowa, because we believe it’s essential to keep the arts alive everywhere, rather than confining the arts to a few big cities,” he said.

Morris is co-founder and Vice President of Maquoketa Art Experience (MAE), a non-profit organization established in 2008 and located in downtown Maquoketa. MAE is dedicated to arts education, fostering appreciation of the arts and to building community by engaging the residents of Maquoketa and surrounding areas in diverse creative activities.

Director and Chief Curator of University Museums, Lynette Pohlman: Rose and Chuck, Chuck and Rose – their artistic lives and professions are tightly woven together.   Without both, Faces of Iowa State would be merely a dream.  

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