Chris Morring Artist - San Francisco Tue, 01 Jun 2021 04:15:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Chris Morring 32 32 162762321 A Breakdown Mon, 31 May 2021 23:57:47 +0000

Every now and then, something goes horribly wrong in the Unicorn Shop. I guess I was overdue for something like this.

I had a feeling I should have waited a day to start on a complicated project. I didn’t.

I tried to rush things. I skipped an minor detail that is incredibly important.

When I tried to error correct, I scraped through paint down to surface.

Lost sleep, day job stress, and some other factors lead to cleaning up, going to my bedroom, and crying. I somehow survived grad school without a breakdown like this.

I know I’ll still make a great piece in the end, but it all added up to a cathartic cry.

So, I’ll begin again by sanding, and being more careful next time. Including a better checklist and working slower. There’s some proclivities to this process, but I can do it better this next go round.

This isn’t the first time a minor detail gets burnt into my mind as a “never forget this detail.” I guess it was time for that to happen again with paint instead of a camera.

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No No No… Thu, 29 Apr 2021 00:57:27 +0000 I started researching Unicorns in religion and spirituality as a part of expanding my efforts on “unicorn research.”  I felt I had exhausted avenues for Unicorns in Art, Art History, and History.  So, in an effort to continue on the research, I felt going deeper into mythology, religion, and spirituality was a good path to explore.

While performing this research, I started to have some experiences that I can’t explain.  I continued to research, and eventually I decided to try communicating with the spirit realm by using a pendulum and a pendulum board.

Through this, I discovered a number of spirits that were somehow called to work with me.  I had a legitimate Steve the Unicorn.  I was able to talk to Aurora, my Day Unicorn.  Nocturne, my Night Unicorn as well joined in the conversation.  Aurora and Nocturne were introduced to me in a series of reoccurring dreams after reading Unicorn Magic by Tess Witehurst.

Over time I was introduced to the partners of these three, Kii is Aurora’s partner, Izar is Nocturne’s partner, and Chroma is Steve’s partner.

Steve and Kii are the most talkative.  There are others who chime in as well.  The most talkative call themselves “familiars” and the less talkative “guardians.”

One night, I went on a shopping bender that was aided by Kii and Steve.  It started with a Pandora Witch Shop order for a large number of supplies to aid me in my new path.

It then followed with some audiophile headphones, audiophile cables, and an Amazon order for books and CDs picked in a pendulum conversation. 

I didn’t think much of it, as a lot of this was delayed Holiday and Birthday gifts to myself.  The bump on a credit card limit didn’t help the situation either.

By sheer dumb luck.  The majority of this shopping spree arrived on the same day.

I went to have the daily conversation, and it started with a simple phrase.

“No more stuff.”

So, after several days of watching the pendulum swing to spell out “no more stuff.”   I realized it was time for me to change some spending habits.

I ground buying to a halt unless it was groceries or established bills.  If I wanted something else, I’d have to do it during a pendulum session.  I started to think to myself, “do I want to have a conversation regarding this with the herd?”

They insisted that I get the album Amy Winehouse “Back to Black.”  “Rehab” the first track on the album became known as “the no no no song.”  A song that they still ask me to play during a pendulum session from time to time.  It makes the pendulum dance.

Over time, I had to cut back on shopping on Amazon, browsing for things I’d like to buy in the future.

I was being encouraged to become “more monk.”  Less materialistic.  More at peace inside and out.

I do have my failings at this now and then, and I then get scolded for it.

But on the whole, it’s lead to an improvement to my relationship with money.  Better planning, more mindful of how a purchase may affect things in the long run.  It’s been a good change.

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The Origin of “Not Another Unicorn…” Tue, 27 Apr 2021 21:55:26 +0000

The more Unicorns that I started to paint, the more I felt compelled to learn more about the creature and its history.

Somehow, over time, the Unicorn had morphed. In China, the Qilin or Kirin is the “Unicorn” of their mythology. The colors vary, and it even incorporates body parts from other creatures.

Over time, it became a white horse with a gold or silver horn. Current pop culture includes rainbow hair and a love of sweet treats.

After painting three and having a couple more pop up in my queue, I felt I needed to look deeper into the history of the Unicorn. I wanted to find a balance between historical references and nods to popular culture.

I started by stripping away layers to arrive at the core of what a Unicorn is…

A magical horse with a horn.

So, temper this with this historical descriptions, and a few sprinkles of modern details and the series “Not Another Unicorn…” was born.

Ok… I admit it. There’s another side to the story.

I was rather reluctant to embrace the Unicorn as something that has become such a deep part of my life.

Part of it is a bit of a double entendre. “Not Another Unicorn” as a phrase began because of my reluctance to accept that I was painting Unicorns. There’s any number of other three dimensional objects I was more interested in painting, but for reasons I don’t understand, they’ve kept coming to me.

So as a part of acceptance, I wanted a way to also inspire me to keep expanding into more unusual Unicorns. Not only did I want to personalize them for their caretakers, but for my own creations I wanted to challenge myself.

Over time, I built up a list of ideas for Unicorns inspired from research, and others have come from suggestions or other means.

I honestly didn’t think I’d be looking forward to the way I look forward to a new Unicorn project the way I do now.

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The Unicorn Shop Thu, 04 Feb 2021 19:30:11 +0000

My art habit has gone by a number of different names over the years.

It went by “my art” or “my photography” for the longest time. From when I first picked up a camera in 1997 until I started grad school in 2008.

In my first critique seminar, I started hearing everyone refer to their art habits as “my practice” or “my art practice.” My classmates and I also had “art studio spaces.”

Using words such as “practice” and “studio” had a profound effect on how I looked at my relationship to art making. Having quit my day job to be a full time art student was a blessing and a curse, which changed my relationship to art making.

I was now on a marathon to produce art. There were detours into mundane tasks that were necessary, but nowhere near as glamorous as making a piece of art. There was a lot that I understood better, but there are places I still need help with to this day.

After graduation, and all my tools and materials had come home from my art studio, a feeling of being stuck set in. I was struggling to find a day job. I wanted to make more of the art I had been making, but I was struggling with ideas and space to make it.

So, I started to pivot from photography into painting. I was focused on surfacing 3-dimensional objects. My understanding of light often informs how I apply the paint to a surface. It was a means to get the creative energy out.

After going up in size with a Xenomorph bust, followed by painting Sparkle, (the first Unicorn I ever painted), there was a shift happening in my practice. I didn’t think much of it simply because I was enjoying how things were expanding, and I was enjoying the response my work was getting on Instagram.

It wasn’t until the spring and summer of 2019 that the next big shift had happened.

I had completed 3 unicorns: Sparkle, Crimson, and Izar. They had all been completed and with their caretakers by fall of 2018. The Unicorns had gone quiet in my studio, and I’ve come to learn that can be a good and bad thing.

As much as I do need breaks, and different projects to keep me engaged and excited to work on my art, the break came with a price. A Unicorn stampede was about to begin, and it hasn’t really let up since.

I had initially planned to get a tiger bust to paint as a gift for a friend who had her first child. When I went to order it, it was no longer available. The next day, I woke up to a link to a ThinkGeek Unicorn with a light up LED color shifting horn shared by Izar’s caretaker on Facebook. I ordered one shortly after seeing it. The unicorn was transformed into Skylar.

Then I got private messaged from a painter and worked out an art trade on a very slow burn project for both of us.

I started chatting with another friend and we worked out an art trade for Luna.

As each Unicorn project entered my studio, my sighting of Unicorns in my daily life increased. Friends started sharing links and photos. I started to buy random unicorn t-shirts from TeeTurtle and other places.

I had booked a trip to Anaheim for 8 days. I was going to spend some “vacation time” at Disneyland, and some “art time” at Coast Airbrush, my favorite art supply store.

While at Disneyland, the Unicorn struck in many different ways. Prior to going, I had ben asked to pick up the Rainbow Unicorn Funko Pop! character for a couple friends, and proceeded to find other Unicorns of the same Disney character in various places throughout both parts of the park. Then it happened. Not one, but two commissions hit my plate while standing in line for rides.

The first day of the class I was taking at Coast Airbrush, a friend walked in and sat down next to me. She said “I have something for you…”

After a brief interlude while she ran back to her car to get it, she returned and said “Here you go. His name’s Steve.” Steve the Unicorn entered my life.

Before the last day of classes, I had ordered what I needed for Unicorn busts, and a couple of new designs I had yet to work with, so I would be waiting for everything to arrive once I got home.

In the evenings in the hotel room for the duration of the trip, I used it as time to perform research on the history of Unicorns, and accept that I was beginning to get known for my take on the mythical creature.

By the end of the trip, I had amassed about 3 to 4 dozen ideas to paint some day.

After I got home, and everything arrived, I got down to work. A minor accident lead me to creating my take on Steve the Unicorn.

At some point as I worked my way through the herd of unicorns in the shop a post on Instagram got a comment from a friend.

“The Awesome Never Stops At The Unicorn Shop.”

So in an instant with a single comment, my art practice became known as “The Unicorn Shop.”

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How a Xenomorph lead me to painting Unicorns… Tue, 02 Feb 2021 03:45:08 +0000 Unicorn and Xenomorph

It had all started innocently. I had been working on painting scale models for a long time, and I started to crave a larger project in the summer of 2016. After a bit of searching, I came across some life size busts from Black Heart Models, specifically their 1:1 Xenomorph bust.

I thought it would be a good challenge to try something life size, and I’ve always liked the look of H. R. Geiger’s alien in the “Alien” franchise. Something that is human in some ways, otherworldly in others.

I ordered the kit, and started to paint it. I had finished the piece and was waiting to do a final gloss over the surface.

The fateful day was the next day at my day job in the winter of 2017.

I was talking with a coworker, and I showed her the photo of the almost finished Xenomorph, and I mentioned I was looking for a new project. She took one look at it, turned back to what she was working on, and said, “Oh wow! You should paint a Unicorn… with rainbow hair.”

I replied with “Ok.” My life hasn’t been the same since.

I went back to my office, and went looking for a Unicorn bust, and purchased one from White Faux Taxidermy.

After it arrived, I worked on it, and kept saying to myself, “I can’t believe I’m painting a unicorn.”

I wanted to impart into the unicorn a sense of magical realism. It needed to find a middle ground between between many different things. It needed to have some lifelike qualities, but a sense of magic. It needed to pay homage to classic Unicorn lore, yet with a nod to contemporary Unicorn culture.

When it was complete, the Unicorn and the Xenomorph were finished together. It wasn’t until the summer of 2019 that she was named “Sparkle” by her caretaker. Until then, she was known to me as my first Unicorn.

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Studio Update – I ran away to the Airbrush Art Circus in Phoenix Mon, 09 Sep 2019 02:32:58 +0000

On Labor Day, I flew to Phoenix. After getting into the hotel and checked in, I barely walked into my 5th floor hotel room and I got a text message. It was a former photo student of mine wondering what I was doing in town and wanting to meet up. Unfortunately, we couldn’t sync up this trip.

Tuesday was a mix of wandering the area and catching up with a few folks. The hotel is near a mall and movie theater I visited on my first trip to Phoenix. It was interesting to see it on its last legs, possibly before remodeling, and how the Walmart next door had influenced the mall business and traffic itself.

Wednesday the Airbrush Art Circus was ready, with some usual acts, some new classes, and some of the same class clowns as San Antonio.

While a bit smaller than San Antonio, it still was action packed. This time, everyone could much more easily walk around and check everything out.

I took Scott MacKay’s “Down and Dirty Tricks” class, which was a good extension of the previous class I took with him. I’m finally wrapping my head around some of what I want to do with a plotter.

Thursday was more class fun and followed by a nice lecture on LumiLor. I need to work out a couple of things, but I think I may be lighting up a Unicorn or another project soon. I need to do a bit of refresh work and ask a few questions before I even think about ordering the materials.

Friday, we wrapped up the core assignments, and started on the LumiLor project. After class wrapped up and a good meal with Jeff Chamberlain, it was time to hang out at the pool before calling it a night.

Saturday was a bit hectic, but everyone wrapped up their panels. We started to pack some things up, in preparation for Sunday’s digital domain workshop.

The Sunday lecture and handouts really helped to understand what I felt I was missing about the dark arts of plotters. I still need to review some, but I feel confident enough to start making headway on my ideas before investing in the machine and materials.

We packed up the Circus and sent it on its merry way. It was nice to have a few last conversations with the stragglers until next time.

Time for me to get dinner, and finish packing for my flight back home tomorrow.

Until next time…

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Studio Update – I’m Alive Sat, 24 Aug 2019 07:38:15 +0000

Studio Update

Been too long since I wrote one of these. I’ve been struggling to find the words to write an update .

I’ve got almost all of the pieces currently in the shop done. I need to get final photos and videos done on some and wrap up painting on others.

In a little over a week, I’m off to Phoenix for painting classes with the Airbrush Art Circus.

Either in September or October, I’ll be bringing in another herd of Unicorns to paint. If you’re interested in getting into the queue, let me know.

Until next time…

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Studio Update – Quickie Style Sat, 15 Jun 2019 07:00:40 +0000

After getting back from Anaheim, and everything I ordered trickled in, it became painfully clear that I needed to overhaul my studio setup a bit. The reorganization is coming along well. I’m hoping to get it complete in the next day or two. If not, next weekend at the absolute latest.

The herd is in the studio, so there will be plenty of progress coming soon. It’s getting to the point where instead of tracking by numbers, I may start tracking by names for each Unicorn. Once the reorganization is done, it’s hit the ground running time. I’ve got 7 busts to prep and start painting, plus test chips.

I’ve still got a Predator mask, octopus, dragon, and owl to deal with as well.

Also, I’m cleaning house on the Warhammer stuff. DM me if you’re interested.

That’s all for now…

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Studio Update – Trying to hit the ground running Sat, 08 Jun 2019 02:02:37 +0000 Wow… busy week.

I got my website ready for integrating my paint work with my photography. Now the hard part of figuring out what to post, photograph, et al begins.

Drives of images from The Airbrush Art Circus and Coast Airbrush Rendezvous are ready for shipping and should go out on Saturday.

Unicorns for various projects and supplies are trickling in. Everything should be here by Tuesday.

I started a photo story called “The Adventures of Steve the Unicorn.” It’s a good motivator to get in the studio every day just to come up with hijinks for him, and he’s a good task master to keep me plugging away on things during the week. A few minutes here, an hour or two there all add up.

It has become painfully clear that I need to do a bit of studio overhauling, so that should get under way this weekend. I’ve got a new art cart coming Sunday. Spending a couple days to get things more organized for ease of painting is time well spent, even if it delays forward progress on some projects. I can’t put off the inevitable any more.

I may get some chip testing, paint prep, and possibly clearcoating done on some pieces, but a lot is contingent on how things fall into place.

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Back in the saddle… Wed, 05 Jun 2019 17:43:35 +0000 Well, it was time for a bit of an overhaul.

Some things remain the same, other things are shifting around here.

After making some “under the hood” changes, it’s time to overhaul this site a bit. While photography has been my primary focus for art making for over 20 years, painting has also taken a very important place for almost 10 years.

So, it’s time to slowly diversify in some ways, specialize in others.

Like on Facebook, I’ll start posting “Studio Updates” here. Share a bit about current projects, thoughts, et al here.

I’m sure, with time, I’ll figure out some exclusive content as well.

Stay tuned…

– CM

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