For the Record: Morgan Hess

Welcome to the return of For the Record! For those unfamiliar with the original series from 2015, For the Record is an ongoing interview series with all types of journal keepers. It aims to explore the different ways you can approach journaling, showcase an array of work, and emphasize there is no “wrong” or “right” way to journal. I’m very pleased to share the first interview in the new series with Morgan Hess.

About Morgan

My name is Morgan (she/her). While I study and work in neuroscience, art has always been more than a hobby to me. There’s a strong disconnect between science and art. When I started posting my art online, I was encouraged by my peers in neuroscience to use an alias, to only use my real name for research publications, but I refused. I am a multi-faceted person and I will not hide my art in order to be taken more seriously in my scientific endeavors.

1. Describe the type of journal you keep and your journal style.

I keep a small sketchbook to work in. Sometimes my journals are themed, for example, my last journal was primarily filled with plants and fungi. Most pages of my journals have quotes on them as well.

2. How long have you been a journal-keeper?

I started journaling in college, mostly because I didn’t have time for “real” art. It was about halfway through my second sketchbook that my girlfriend convinced me to start posting the sketches online. She convinced me that the art being in a journal doesn’t make it any less “real” than if it were a stand-alone piece.

Art journal spread by Morgan Hess

3. It took me a while to be convinced of that too. I’m glad we both realized that art in a journal doesn’t make it any less “real”! What are the reasons you keep a journal?

If I didn’t make art I’d go crazy. Art is how I cope, vent, celebrate, relax. It is a way to express myself. I like journals because they keep everything together. It’s one big art piece as well as dozens of little ones. I also enjoy journaling because I don’t take it as seriously. If I mess up it’s no big deal. I can cover it up, transform it, work with it, or even cut it out. There’s no pressure.

4. I love the idea that journaling is one big art piece as well as dozens of small ones – I hadn’t thought about it like that before. How often do you work in your journal?

I work in my journal pretty much everyday. It was my New Year’s resolution to draw everyday, even if it’s just a couple of marks on the page.

Art journal spread by Morgan Hess

5. Do you work in multiple journals or do you stick to one at a time?

I work in one at a time.

6. What are your favorite supplies to work with?

I love drawing with ballpoint pens and colored pencils. I love control, and that manifests in my art.

Art journal spread by Morgan Hess

7. What inspires you?

I get inspired by nature, quotes, music, books, people, anything really. I try to find beauty in every aspect of my life.

8. Do you use journal entries as a basis to create other work?

No, but I do sometimes play off the themes or quotes in an older page and make small connections throughout the journal.

Art journal spread by Morgan Hess

9. What are your thoughts on destroying journals?

I would never destroy my journals, but when they’re done I don’t do much with them. I don’t look back very often; I prefer constantly moving forward and transforming.

10. Thank you so much for answering these questions! Where else can we find you and your work online?

My Instagram is @morganhessart, my website is morganhessart.com and my Tumblr is also morganhessart (as you can see, I am very creative with the naming process).

Interested in being interviewed for For the Record? Get in touch!

Illustractions Release Party & Art Show

One of my goals this year has been to submit my work to zines, so in March I came across a call for a new Los Angeles based zine called Illustractions and decided to submit a few pieces for consideration. Ari got back to me pretty quickly to tell me that one of my pages was to be included, which I was over the moon about! A few weeks later I had an email with an update on the zine and that there was to be a release party for the zine in May at Junior High in Hollywood. I started to get nervous about it, but I accepted the invitation and decided I would just go for it; you have to take these opportunities, right? I also agreed to do some quick portraits of the people at the event – eek!

The show was last night and I’m so glad I went! I was super nervous the whole time, but it was pretty amazing to see my art on the wall and in a zine, to meet some new people, and enjoy a night of stand-up comedy, music, and art. Here are some photos from the show:

Me with the zine and my art!
The wall of portraits I made with two other artists
Junior High – such an awesome art space!
I really liked this

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like the zine is available to buy online, I think they were just given out for free across Los Angeles, but it it was really fun to be involved in!