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morgan, connecticut, drawings, circus, acrobat,
was born into unconventionality. A 20 year experience as a performing “Toy
Boy” is proof positive. My passion and compassion for life has been demonstrated
through my work with the mentally ill and challenged. My background, which I
consider eclectic, includes a successful 7 year stint as an independent business
person. My current obsession is lure coursing (racing) a sighthound (Basenji).
Sighthounds chase by sight, just like you and I. My introduction to this sub-culture
began 2 years ago . I own the #1 Basenji in the country (2005-2006), “Grace.”
Let me start from the beginning. Picture This: It’s 1949
and I’m nine months old, sitting in an old tin wash bucket welded to the
end of a twelve-foot pole being balanced on my
father’s forehead. Now Picture This: I’m eighteen
years old, doing a free headstand on top of a twenty-three-foot perch pole balanced
on my father’s forehead performing
on Don Amechi’s Televised International Showtime in Sherbrooke, Canada
(1967). We share the bill with, among others, “The Human Cannonball Act” (the
world famous Zacchinis).
Such was my beginning. Born into a first-generation
family acrobatic act, my
father, two brothers, sister and myself – billed as “Al Morgan and
His Toy Boys,” later to be called the “Al Morgan Family,” performed
throughout New England, Canada, and as far south as Tennessee. Starting in local
bars, we graduated to nightclubs, carnivals/state fairs, corporations, the Boston
Garden, Madison Square Garden, commercials for unicycles, and ended on Don Amechi’s
International Showtime. At eighteen I ran away from the “circus” and
joined art school.
In 1984 I was a Visiting Artist at San Diego State.
I taught drawing, painting, composition and worked individually with graduate
students. While there I collaborated
with the “Home of Guiding Hands,” a facility for the mentally challenged,
where I took my drawing students, and we drew them and they drew us. A dual portrait
show was held at the Master’s Gallery. In 1989 I was a Visiting Artist
at Ohio State University. In 2002 and 2003 as adjunct faculty I taught foundation
drawing courses at UMaine Orono.
In 2004 I was awarded A.R.T., a fund of the Berkshire
Taconic Foundation Grant for drawing. For the following three years I was engaged
in this effort. In 2007 I suffered a stroke which I am currently in rehab for.
Past drawings are being reevaluated at this time as I book my circus to various
venues around the country.
and purpose stokes our desires. When these desires become all consuming
the journey is planned. A 360 degree search narrows our point of
departure and one’s visual wit is pursued. Perseverance will
be demanded. The ability to see a course that needs altering is essential.
To admit your misgivings is crucial. Growth is inevitable as revelations
define and focus your visual wit. Self governing work ethics equates
to self worth, your reward is pride. Support systems need to be recognized
and nurtured. Nothing is taken for granted. Investigation and experimentation
with traditional materials in combination with the new and or untried,
offers untold benefits. Awareness of history and your contemporaries
in conjunction with artists of other disciplines forms fruitful collaborations.
Morals, values and thought build a life that needs no place to hide.
Angle of the Dangle Meets the Loopty Loop of the Curve
How much – can not much – be?
Reducing everything to it’s common denominator (a curve, an angle, a
straight line or combinations of the two) – I’ve started with what
many may say
is nothing – to me everything.
allowed myself to start all over. I’ve found first grade
again. Sometimes more literal at other times less. To show
something we all know in a way
we’ve never seen it ----- the answer.
performing past surfaces and as an artist, today, I remain
the choice of work or play – I’ve chosen play.
Carnival’s Fun House, the Midway’s Penny Arcade,
pinball machines, dodgeball and all……my romper
rooms scribble filled.
Sometimes – I
strip away all identity to juggle, balance, levitate and defy
gravity through simple line. It is here I’ve found the
Magician’s Magic Wand…and for
create safe havens, mindscapes, places to play, momentary impossible
realities, my guard left elsewhere.
I find hope for tomorrow.
"Alone in a visual room of play, all remains
private, upon longer visits, more. It’s for those moments
I look forward to."
Page Drawings: My pen in chase
searches for its shapes.
Sometimes not –
It digs deep then stops…
to start again.
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