Portrait by: Gene Sasse 2013
Girl in Yellow | Watercolor 2011

“My drawing is a little mysterious to me, it opens me up... being a natural introvert, it’s hard to relate to people. The sketching is a bridge to talking to those around me, a bridge between me and other people.”


Stories from the Art: Pete Morris


Smiling and relaxed, leaning back comfortably in his chair, Pete Morris exudes a strong confidence and innate satisfaction with life.

Although working a full time job in South Central Los Angeles, and very involved with his large family and church, Pete finds time in his busy schedule for his art.

Frustrated that he could only finish one painting in a week or two at home, several years ago he changed his routine. In addition to painting larger pieces when he has the time, he now sketches as he rides the Metro train into LA. When he drives in to work, he will leave the office at lunch and find a picturesque street in a nearby neighborhood to draw. Pete lives within his time constraints.

Preferring the quick immediate experience of drawing on location, his art allows him to interact with his environment. “There is really nothing that can take its place. It might not be better, but it’s more real than real” he says. He enjoys painting buildings, architecture and the landscape around him, the contrast between the organic and geometric, the places where they connect. “The lines and shapes form a natural contrast that is always interesting if it’s done well.”

Pete Morris is a storyteller, and when he sketches, he can tell the story of a stranger at a particular moment with a keen eye and a sharp pencil. In more then a few instances, he has caught on paper the hurt or pain, the restlessness or fatigue of the person sitting nearby. The emotional state of his fellow commuters seems to glide onto his sketchbook along with their profiles. Seeing beyond what his eyes show him at times, he imparts a bit of the person themselves into his work.

He often will write a poem or an idea or thought over his artwork when he’s finished. Something that struck him about the person while he was sketching them. Something that came to him while he was painting. Something that stirred in his mind as he pondered the moment.

Pete’s art involves his whole being: his life history, his emotions, his spirituality, his intellect all intersect when he creates. “And then” says Pete “it transcends all of those things, because maybe God is involved, and maybe there is something mysterious about it that transcends all of that and can’t fully be explained”

“I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, but I’m some people’s cup of tea, and that’s good enough”, he said with a smile and small laugh of joy.

Ma & Pa | Watercolor 2013
Italian Church | Watercolor 2013
Curator: Gene Sasse
Writer: Laurie Morrison
© 2013 Inland Empire Museum of Art
All Art © by The Artist