Vivid bright colors meet the abstract.
By Shelly Johnson
Photography by Brett Mountain
Many artists say the process of producing their works is instinctual and almost a primal need for connection. From the Paleolithic Lascaux cave paintings in southern France or possibly even older depictions of humans and animals in the Sulawesi paintings in Indonesia, the human expression of art has spanned humanity’s presence on Earth.
Meet abstract painter Buddy Morsello of Lincoln Park. “I chose art as a career because it freed me from my thoughts and concerns and made me feel connected,” he says. “It’s much like a spiritual meditation so I feel I must practice it daily.” Morsello took an art class in high school where he discovered art was not just making pretty pictures. He finds the process both “sacred and engaging.”
He creates oil paintings in vivid, bright colors, sometimes black and white with dramatic lines and often symmetrical lines or curves mixed with disconnected visuals.
Most of his work, which he begins with a photograph or sketch, is based on an actual place. Because the images are of the interior or exterior of a building or room, there are often staircases, angles and/or hints to realism. “During a session, I will sometimes diverge from my sketch and rely on intuition,” he says.
He is inspired by interiors that have a deep sense of space and a unique color scheme. “It’s hard to say specifically what I’m drawn to, but as I search through interior design images or as I am out exploring with my camera, I’m either inspired or not. It’s hit or miss,” he says.
Growing up in Trenton, he recalls watching a Jackson Pollack interview. The artist described his practice as a performance and somewhat of a meditation. “I find the spiritual to be abstract and mysterious, which is why I choose to paint scenes that reflect mystery and ambiguity; mostly spaces with architectural detail,” Morsello says.
A Wayne State grad, he earned a master’s degree of fine arts (he did his undergrad at the Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids), Morsello is newly married with one small son named Jackson and another son, Lennon (yes, named after John Lennon) born recently.
His wife, Stefanie, is a graphic artist. “Buddy is a sensitive man and a deep thinker,” she says. “He wears his emotions on his sleeve. His art evokes deep feeling.”
She said she likes to watch him work on a new piece because when he is moved by something in his life, only then does he start his process — and he gets lost in it.
“He stands back and observes his work and talks about how it makes him feel,” she says. “If it isn’t provoking the right emotion, he will change it until it is perfect. Viewing his work is like a window into his soul.”
Morsello usually finishes his pieces in one session, which could take from five to 10 hours.
He says he is glad he had supportive parents. “My parents would support me if I wanted to be a dinosaur,” he jokes.
As for encouraging budding artists, he says, “Young artists should continue to create, no matter what they do for a living. Keep creating and keep dreaming. I believe we all have art within us, but I do believe that some people have a better connection to express the intangible or spiritual.
“At this stage of my life, I’d rather be content in how I earn a living rather than by how much I earn,” he adds.
Morsello currently has his art at Shop Play Love in the heart of Detroit’s Eastern Market. NS
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To learn more about Morsello, visit www.buddy-morsello.org or follow him on Facebook and Instagram.