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This installment of the Creative Inspirations series takes viewers into the life and home studio of one of the entertainment industry's most sought-after motion graphics designer. Rick Morris is a classically trained illustrator who successfully transitioned into the world of motion graphics. His highly expressive works have appeared as opening titles for films such as Mi Vida Loca, television programs like "Survivor," and commercials for Toyota, Kyocera, and Michelin. He's also designed the menu titles for the DVD of "The Sopranos." This installment of Creative Inspirations shows how Rick evolves his skills and applies them to moving images, how he continually develops his creative perspectives, and how he became a popular teacher at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and Otis College of Design in Los Angeles. To learn more about Rick Morris, visit his website at nobleassassins.com.
(Music playing.) Rick Morris: Hey Lynda! Lynda Weinman: Hey Rick! It's so great that you agreed to be part of our Creative Inspiration series. We are really happy to have you. Rick: Well, I'm happy to do so. It's an honor to be here, really. Lynda: Well, I'm remembering back to where we met originally. Do you remember? Rick: Yes, indeed I do. It was -- Lynda: American Film Institute. Rick: American Film Institute, back in the day and I was just starting to get schooled on the whole business of motion arts, and I needed to get some training, quick, fast and in a hurry, because I was starting to get work and I needed to figure out what I was going to be doing, and I came and attended one of your classes.
Lynda: I remember being quite drawn to you because you already were an artist and you had a great portfolio and you really seemed to know what you wanted to do with the education you were getting. So how was it that you decided that you wanted to transition from being an illustrator to get into motion graphics? Rick: Well, that's the way the current was going. I could feel that and I really wanted to move with that stream, and my moving here to L.A. was a big turning point as far as redirecting the compass of things design-wise.
Lynda: Had you been looking at motion graphics and analyzing it and thinking of motion? Rick: No, I had no idea. I mean I had a little bit more than a clue, but I didn't know anything about getting into the biz, where it was going to take me. I had just sort of a minimal knowledge of the people that were working in that field, but I knew that I was interested because at that point I was looking to get off the page and get more into storytelling. Lynda: So were you already comfortable with the computer, was that a transition too? Rick: Yeah, I didn't say much about this at the time because I was already working with folks, but it was trial by fire.
I was still kind of learning on the job. Probably one of the best ways to learn, looking back now in retrospect, because it was do or die and I really wanted to make it. I wanted to make the cut. I had people that believed in me on a design level and now I had to like convince them on an entirely new level. Lynda: Absolutely. Rick: That I had the skills to make it. Lynda: Did you find working with the computer to come easily to you? What was that like to go from drawing by hand? Rick: Well there is a learning curve.
Lynda: There is a learning curve and it's not for everybody. There are so many artists who can't make that transition. So did you find that you had the aptitude for it right out of the gate or how did you maneuver yourself into that? Rick: No, I wasn't one of those gifted predisposed people that were already like blessed with that. I had to go through that painfully agonizing learning curve. But I put myself through it. I mean as grueling as it was, I had an old machine available to me that I would run to at nights and scramble, just like tear through manual, and teach myself everything I needed to know for that very next day and that went on for like probably weeks in a row.
Lynda: Well, I'm in your home and I know we were profiling it in the piece, but we're surrounded by art and obviously, you're very influenced by art. I've even bumped into you at MOCHA at an art exhibit one time, and I've seen you on the outside. So what role do you draw from with outside art? How do you-- not only do your own art but it seems like you're a connoisseur of the other people's art as well? Rick: Well yeah, I've acquired a lot of tastes along the way and also I want to credit my wife Lisa for schooling me on a lot of stuff and bringing me along as far as introducing new things.
Not just painters but all these different like mediums that I'm surrounded by, be it glass, be it ceramics, be it forged steel, iron, welding, welded sculptural pieces. I mean, everything has a tactile sense but in the end the dots all connect because it really is part of a whole. I may have a certain stylistic approach to the way I've got things set up right now, but that doesn't exclude the fact that I have my share of like science fiction posters and Japanese plushies and all kinds of other craziness as well.
I just kind of keep that stored away in my own special little back room. I pull it out when necessary. But yeah, I mean if I surround myself with art, it's because that's what I'm keen on, that's what I'm curious about, that's what I'm forever interested in, and it's the same way a singer would themselves with music, I suppose. Lynda: Are you still doing your own drawings and your own artwork? Rick: Oh yeah, well, absolutely.
I think that would happen no matter what. That would happen if I was just desperately unemployed. I mean you know, I don't know, and I would still find that as a release and an outlet and some solace because to me that's where I'm kind of at peace with myself. If I really, really need to just kind of like look for rescue in something, it's always there for me. Yeah, it helps to like draw things. It's like my personal diary of life I guess. That's how I keep track of things.
Lynda: It's you're calling. Would you say so? Rick: I think so, yeah. Lynda: I think so too. Rick: It helped me find other avenues and pursue a lot of different things. I mean you need some point of origin to hook on to, as an anchor point and then from there you just kind of like spread out. Lynda: So what keeps you going? I mean where do you think you're going to find the next bit of inspiration? Do you ever struggle with any kind of creative blocks? Rick: No, I don't have the one year plan, the five year plan, the ten year plan, or anything like that.
I just know that there is always something lurking around every next corner, so it's either going to find me or I'm going to find it. Lynda: This has been a lot of work and I really appreciate you taking the time and the hope is that this is going to help people but in a different way than lynda.com normally helps them, which is to learn a tool, but instead to understand in addition to the tool what else goes into making a body of work and what else goes into finding your point of view and being able to express. Just expression.
Rick: I think-- I look forward to like advancing technology and where that's going to take us. That is one of the biggest exciting prospects that I have to look forward to it and I think other people will -- many other people feel exactly the same way about it. So I try to stay up on top of things as much as possible. I think you're doing a tremendous job of keeping people current and also keeping their skill sets in place as far as like the learning goes and you are right about the tools.
It's amazing that they're there. It's amazing that they're doing what they're doing. But they are to facilitate your ideas and your thoughts and turn those thoughts into creations. Lynda: I totally agree. Well, thank you for sharing your insights. We love having you. Thank you very much. Rick: Well, thank you so much Lynda.
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