Artist on the Bluff painter Jayne Morgan is shown in her studio at Artists on the Bluff. Morgan is a graduate of Hoover High School and Savannah College of Art and Design. Photo courtesy of Jayne Morgan.
Located in the heart of Bluff Park, Artists on the Bluff (AOTB) is a collective of area artisans, representing a wide swath of talent, from performance art to oil painting, and everything in between. Housed in the former Bluff Park Community School building, this creative hub is a place of perpetual activity, given the building’s mixed use which serves as working studios, offices and teaching spaces.
This month, the Hoover Sun kicks off a new series where we will feature one of the many artisans who make their professional home at AOTB. This month’s featured artist is Jayne Morgan.
Describe your artistic journey. How did you first take up painting?
I’m originally from Birmingham. My mom put me in painting classes with Linda Vance when I was 10 with my little sister, Pauli. Then all four years at Hoover High School I took ceramics and sculpture from Nelson Grice and loved it. I actually sold my first piece of art in his class my junior year. I went to the University of Alabama for two years thinking I was going to keep doing sculpture, but it wasn’t the right fit for me. I ended up transferring to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2007, moved into a house downtown and started a life-changing adventure there.
What led you to connect with Artists on the Bluff?
After graduating, I moved into a house in Bluff Park. I always passed this building that said “Art Gallery” but I never really looked into it. I was so busy starting my business and doing shows all over the country that I didn’t even realize an artist community was forming right down the street! After two years of working out of my house, I received a call from AOTB asking if I’d be interested in a studio. I walked right over and have been there ever since!
What was the most useful technique you learned from your time at Savannah College of Art and Design?
Looking back, I was mostly surprised about how fearless I was in making the decision to attend SCAD. I didn’t know anyone in this city that was seven hours away from home. I left all my friends and family to pursue this new adventure. It was definitely the best decision I have ever made. I always try to be fearless when it comes to my life and my art.
When you see people’s reactions to your work, how does that make you feel?
I love seeing people’s reactions to my work. The honey bears usually evoke a fun and happy emotion. People get excited when they see the bears. I love it because the honey bears make me happy as I’m painting them.
One Christmas before I became a painting major at SCAD I painted a portrait of my dad’s mother who died when he was a child. It was the only time I have seen my dad cry. I loved that emotional response to something that I had created.
I also love reactions to my students’ work. I always take pictures of my students proudly holding their paintings once they finish them. They not only take home great paintings each week but they also get this new sense of self confidence from starting and finishing a beautiful work of art on their own.
Anything else you want to share with our readers?
I am also very involved with the organization VSA Alabama, which stands for Very Special Artists. As a community artist I work with children and adults with disabilities and chronic illnesses.
I have absolutely enjoyed sharing my talents with these special artists and together we have raised a lot of money for the program selling our art at their annual auctions.
After volunteering with VSA and organizations like it for a couple years, I recently joined the Exceptional Foundation in Homewood as their art director. It has brought me so much joy to be able to give my talents to serve the community in such a positive way.