Today we’d like to introduce you to Morgan DeLuna.
Morgan, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
As a kid, I just had to be where the art was. It didn’t matter what form it took it was like breathing for me, essential. I grew up just outside Minneapolis, Minnesota’s vibrant art scene which greatly influenced me. I spent my childhood exploring both studio and performing arts. For many years my concentration was theater; however, I reached a point where I found myself overrun with ideas and emotions that I wanted to express when I felt it. Unfortunately, the theater couldn’t always offer that 24/7 access I needed. After moving to San Diego, California in 2004, I began making my way back to studying studio arts where I rediscovered photography in the digital age. It offered me everything I was looking for in a medium and that was it, I was hooked.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a conceptual photographic artist mainly working in self-portraiture. The work I create investigates my interest in humanity and connection. I am curious about our similarities and experiences, both emotional and physical, regardless of our differences. It is also largely about engaging people with one another.
My process generally begins through introspection on personal experiences and topics, like identity in my self-portrait series “Phenotype” seen below. In this work, I explore my genetic heritage and how our appearance informs our identity. Being Ashkenazi Jewish, Lebanese, and Norwegian I often wonder “What if the genetic dice had been rolled differently?” By using ancestral family photos as reference, scientific lists of dominant and recessive genes, and knowledge of my genetic heritage I apply make-up, wigs, and Photoshop to reimagine myself over and over. The process is important as it informs me of the deeper levels of the work that I may not be aware of when I start. In the end, I come away with some answers, but generally more questions which to me is a good thing.
Coming from an ethnically and religiously diverse family allowed me to experience two worlds. One world where Jews, Catholics, and Muslims with all different levels of skin tone hung out as equals and another world where bigotry and racism tear our society apart. The experience of this duality was such a big theme for me growing up that I can’t help but continue to investigate it.
I strive to speak to that sameness we share as humans. We are species that needs connection, love, safety, and acceptance to survive. My hope is to create a conversation between people, possibly provoke self-reflection, and create images worth spending time with.
Choosing a creative artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
I wish I had a magic answer for this. I think for all artists the hurdles between you and creating come in all shapes and sizes. There are only so many hours in a day and making work takes thoughtful time. I think the most important thing we can do as artists is to not allow conditions become blocks. Don’t let that creative muscle atrophy! If you can find 10-15 mins. a day to do something creative that’s a win in my book; I have been known to make one mean mashed potato tower. As to the financial hurdle, I keep a notebook on me at all times writing down and sketching out ideas. The ideas that I can find ways to create in the present I do and the more costly ones I have are ready and waiting for when the funding comes through.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
While I don’t have any shows scheduled within San Diego at this time, I do have work that is a part of the 5th Biennial Of Fine Art & Documentary Photography exhibition in Barcelona October 4th-21st, 2018. In addition, I keep my website and social media up to date on any events that I am participating in, so keep an eye out. The best way to support my work is by looking, talking, and sharing with others. I also welcome conversations and/or questions about the work as that dialogue is an important element.
- Website: www.morgandeluna.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @morgan.deluna
- Twitter: @MorganDeLuna1