Creative Inspirations: Rick Morris, Motion Graphics Designer
Illustration by John Hersey

Video: Sources of Inspiration

(Music playing.) What stimulates my creativity in general? It comes from a whole assortment of places. It's not just one area. Things around, when I rotate things as need be just to kind of like change the environment a little bit. I mean that's the one nice thing about having stuff is you can just kind of move it around. You know, I'm not into this like permanent setup.

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Watch the Online Video Course Creative Inspirations: Rick Morris, Motion Graphics Designer
53m 12s Appropriate for all Jun 27, 2008

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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.

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Author:
Rick Morris

Sources of Inspiration

(Music playing.) What stimulates my creativity in general? It comes from a whole assortment of places. It's not just one area. Things around, when I rotate things as need be just to kind of like change the environment a little bit. I mean that's the one nice thing about having stuff is you can just kind of move it around. You know, I'm not into this like permanent setup.

But I just like the fact that all this color and shape and form is around me. I mean you can't get away from the fundamentals, which is the graphic, the physical and the architectural. And then with that goes the tactile. I love books because of the tactile sense. I love ceramics because of the look and feel. I mean there's things outside of the computer and the internet that just need, that I need to contact with.

And I don't think I am ever at a loss for some kind of little curio or item to just trigger off, yeah, an inspirational kind of series of events. This is kind of like a typical big eye painting just sort of like done on a wood plank. It's signed Duso. I am not at all that familiar with the artist but I really was attracted to the image itself. That was just something that was just kind of like precious even though the eyes are vacant.

It still like speaks to me and I can connect with this and it was all in the innuendo and the nuance of this thing. But at the same time stylistically I try to avoid all the retro-trappings as often as possible. In this particular instance, I worked with acrylics and just painted out the whole thing. Since I come from a collage background, these parts was just painted independently. I mean I'd actually literally sketch this thing out by hand first.

Then I decided which pieces were going to be independent and I painted those on separate boards, cut the whole thing apart, pasted it together and this thing here that looks like wood is exactly just acrylics, just being dragged across the surface with a brush. I started out painting. I took a long break from it. I am getting back into it again now and it just feels good because it's almost like I am rediscovering what I kind of already knew.

I have music on constantly. I think music is usually and always-- even if it isn't directly related to the piece somehow I will just be casually listening to stuff, have something on, and one specific track or maybe one passage in a track, one moment or one little interlude or something will just ring a bell and I will just go, "I like the rhythm of that" and then I'll make it into a loop. If it really is that significant, and I'll kind of listen to it for a while.

It puts me in a mindset where I can just kind of create a flow from there. I am inspired by lovers, people in love, which somehow have always stirred an interest in me, that whole interaction. Watching them from just casually observing from across the table at a restaurant or being in a park, any other area. I don't just readily turn to design manuals. I mean they are there for a reason. I think they serve a perfect purpose, for collecting work and gathering specimens of some of the best stuff.

We need to see it, even though most of that stuff's happening online nowadays. There's amazing work being done in the US. I think most of the stuff that's really been weighing in heavily lately is coming from the UK. I love it. And that's not to say that Japan hasn't made its generous contribution too and continuous to do so. There is just something about the way stuff that gets created here gets kind of channeled and filtered and digested through there and then just kind of spit back out to us in an entirely different fashion. That's something we never expected.

So it's almost like something back from another planet. I love that. There's a lot of other artists in the industry I am inspired by, you know. I have no hesitation about admitting to that. And I think if you're doing your job, we should all be inspiring each other. I think that's what it's all about. There is no telling what's going to figure in at what given time. It's just like whatever happens to speak to me that day, what kind of mood I am in, what kind of a day I am having.

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