November 2nd, 2016

Jesse Gussow

Lavonia Morris’ artwork feels deeply personal. Most artists put so much of themselves in each piece for sure, but there is something unique about Lavonia’s work that you immediately feel that in that piece in that moment she put every ounce of herself into that piece at that moment. The results are beautiful pieces with varying techniques and emotions. Take a look at her interview and some of her amazing work.


Where are you from?

I was born in Birmingham, Alabama. I grew up in rural Mississippi; the rural landscape shaped a lot of my foundation before going off into other parts of the world.


What was your first introduction to the art world?

I finished a Bachelor of Science of Art from the University of North Alabama. I trained with a great printmaker in college, learning a lot about the traditional printmaking methods. I learned to really appreciate the craftsmanship part of art making. Once I graduated, I've moved into illustration, which is overall pretty solitary work.


What were the first things you made when you started?

Paper dolls. I also did illustrated books as a little girl. I tend toward narration and creating things the way I want them to be, that started as early as I can remember.


Where or who is your inspiration? I found your work on deviant art and it reminded me of Audrey Kawasaki's work.

I've had so many inspirations. It started with Ukiyo-e (old Japanese woodblock) and printmaking, my academic roots. I've always had a passion for animated manga like Miyazaki and Art Nouveau artists like Mucha. I couldn't let it go without mentioning gaming as a huge influence; Final Fantasy has been a big part of that. Otherwise, I take photos of nature and am inspired by nature photos, especially bugs, flowers, and critters. Lastly, in mention of Audrey, I fell in love with Kawasaki's work the moment I first saw it and it's been a long love affair. I've studied it a lot, while going through cancer and radiation it was a bright light in my life.


What is your current music playlist?

That's probably embarrassing, as I'm not a music connoisseur or anything. Stone Temple Pilots, Daft Punk, Muse, Rammstein, Rob Zombie, Lady Gaga, The Seatbelts.


If you had a time machine what would you do with it?

I thought about that a while and sort of was all over the place.  I might seek out the Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) or check out some fond childhood memories.  I'm sort of a fan of antiquities especially between 1870-1920s, so I'd be like a kid in a candy store.


When you first started on this journey, what were your expectations or goals?

 I just want to make visually superior images and tell good, personal stories. I take the the Neil Gaiman approach and as he says just, “Make good art.”


What is your favourite video game to play when you aren't making art?

I am playing Guild Wars 2 right now. I finished Bravely Default 2 and am playing Final Fantasy IX. I [might] get the itch to play FFXIV, we will see.


What can we expect from you in the future?

I'd not been posting much art lately as I had been incredibly sick. I think I've been pretty honest about that. Lately, I am back to making as I've felt better. I'm exploring my senses through scent (perfume making) and illustration, and it's actually provided a lot of clarity for me how I want to progress visually. You can likely expect more portraits and drawings of girls, plants, botanicals, animals, insects. Also, I'm working at making my own pigment paints now, from earth materials like oxides and mica. I've changed, I've been in a long exploratory phase and I've started to connect those dots.


If you weren't an artist what would you be doing?

Going back to elementary school self, palaeontology was always a passion of mine. Other appealing but more fantastic options include space cowboy, summoner, warrior princess, starship counsellor, or vampire slayer.


What's one question you've always wanted to be asked?

Hmm, right off hand, I can't think of anything. I'm sort of an open book, ask and you will receive sort of person. I'm sort of shy and introverted, and I'd rather put the spotlight somewhere else.


Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies? or maybe some other radical cookie?

Without hesitation, sugar cookies. I like to bake them from scratch. The thumbprint versions with strawberry jam are pretty awesome with tea. Otherwise, I'd say Oreo, for my daughter.


I found Lavonia’s work on Deviantart but she also has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumbler, as well as her personal website. Check them all out and give her a follow.

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