Street art is a public museum that is open to everyone and requires no invitation. In Los Angeles, Morley’s work is scattered across walls, lampposts, billboards, electrical boxes, bus stops and construction sites. Creating street art since 2011, Morley specializes in bold typographic posters. He has over 40,000 followers on Instagram, and over 13,000 likes on Facebook.
The first time I met Morley, he was wearing a black t-shirt, glasses, jeans and I recognized him from his own depiction in his artwork but I wasn’t 100% sure who he was...until he played his documentary, “Morley: Vicariously” for our class at Woodbury University. I was instantly moved by the simplicity and meaning of the artwork he presented. Short, simple, and quick is the conceptual idea of his work that also somehow manages to reach people on a deep emotional level.
What are the best/worst things about creating art on the street?
"It’s actually a bit of the same thing… being able to be creatively expressive without asking permission is hugely freeing and immensely gratifying. At the same time you then get to make every artistic mistake in front of people and there’s no one else to blame. I sort of became an artist by accident. I didn’t think my 'hobby' would lead to anything and so since day one I’ve navigated this whole thing a bit like Mr. Magoo so a lot of my good fortune has been blind luck- I mean that both from a career standpoint and from a more tactile artistic one. Discovering what wheatpaste to use, how to print my stuff, how to avoid getting arrested, what the unspoken rules of the scene are- all that stuff was stuff you learn by doing. No one can really teach you and learning them can be humbling."
Is there an unspoken code among street artists?
"Yes, as I mentioned before there’s a lot of stuff that you pick up on pretty early on in this game. Primarily it’s about respecting other artists. For me though, I try and respect the city as well- I post primarily surfaces that won’t do much (if any) damage to a location- temporary construction walls, the wood of a boarded up building, those gray power boxes, etc."