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February 2019 - The Art World: Shontez Morris

This month I wanted to talk with one of my favorite artists in New Mexico, Shontez Morris, whose work deals with sexuality, race, and female empowerment. She took time out to discuss her new role at Meow Wolf, her inspiration, and share advice for young artists.

Tell us about your style of art. What are you trying to say with your work?

My style of art specializes in acrylics on canvas, pencil and paint marker sketches as well as multimedia mannequin art that portrays sensuality, spirituality and self confidence that straddles the borders of racial issues and contradicts how the Black woman is portrayed in today's media. My collection, "Project Mystiq", is a cumulation of mannequin artworks that I dub "conscious" art as I've actually created pieces that breathe and have a heartbeat. All of my pieces depict the female in sensual goddess and extraterrestrial form.

Tell us about your new role over at Meow Wolf.

I have been given the extraordinary opportunity to orchestrate once a month art shows at Meow Wolf for Adult Night that occurs every Thursday night from 8pm until 10pm. The Meow Wolf exhibit, House of Eternal Return, is absolutely kid-free and alcoholic beverages are allowed inside. Entry for that is ticketed separately. My "Taz Presents" Pop Up Gallery Showcase will have a different theme once a month on a select Thursday evening that will exhibit more "adult" themed art. So far, entry to my pop up gallery is free and located in the David Loughridge Learning Center until I gain more momentum. I also plan to incorporate gallery showings in Meow Wolf's bar area, Float Cafe, starting on February 28th for Black History Month so stay tuned!

What goals do you have for you and your art this year?

My goal for 2019 is to collaborate with as many small businesses, performers and fellow artists who are looking for fun, unique and tasteful "adult" ideas to make Meow Wolf's Adult Night more exciting than ever before!

Where are you finding your inspiration lately?

My inspiration comes not only from within myself; harnessing my personal development and spiritual growth but it also stems from the racial negativity that's BEEN plaguing our society. As a woman of color, a BLACK woman, an African American woman......I'm serving as a voice of positive emulation, showing that sensuality and sexuality don't have to be deemed pornographic, but instead positively empowering.

What advice would you offer young artists?

My advice for young artists: art is a universal language......create what's in your heart and soul, don't create just to make money. Stay positive, make positive connections and don't be afraid to let your voice be heard.

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