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Meet Ann Morton, Artist in Central Phoenix

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ann Morton.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After a 35+ year professional career as a graphic/environmental graphic designer, I earned my MFA in 2012 from Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute – School of Art. I am a practicing artist and have been an instructor at Arizona State University, Paradise Valley and Mesa Community Colleges in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona.

After life-changing experiences in South Africa made possible through a course taken at ASU called Social Protest: Conflict and Change, I was inspired to leave my graphic design practice, and take a leap to secure my graduate degree in art. Somehow, I was called to this as the best way for me to contribute my voice to the social landscape.

My studio work has often focused on political or social commentary, but during my graduate career, I explored the genre of socially engaged art – that is the artistic creation of interventions for a community to be engaged in the creation and making of an art event, expression or material object. Now, driven by a desire to make right, my art practice reflects both my own handwork and orchestrates the handwork from a variety of community participants through public interventions that seek to harness the power in the act of making and socially engage the hands of many to create a larger whole.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When I left my design practice, I went from a comfortable salary with all the benefits of a company principal to – well zero. And this was in my 50’s. So, re-building my artistic career has been, and still is a constant struggle. I have so many advantages in my life experience over younger graduates; however, as an “older” adult, I also face definite marginalization and assumptions of my capabilities just because I am an aging female.

I view these struggles in a positive way because it helps me better understand the plight of other marginalized groups in ways that I could not have done had I not put myself in this position. My work is focused on shedding light on the institutional marginalization that has been accepted by our society for so many groups.

Please tell us about your art.
My art practice has been built on an emphasis on textile techniques. I see this as integral to the themes in which I work. The history of women, textiles, and textile production are rich and storied. It is upon this history that I seek to turn what may be normally viewed as “soft”, “home craft” techniques into unique and poignant tools for social commentary.

Through my socially engaged projects, my practice has built a reputation apart from the objective work I accomplish alone in the studio. The size and scope of these orchestrations demonstrate not only my ability to craft a creative platform on which to engage people to participate, but also reveal my organizational skills – skills not always associated with “artists”.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have gone back to secure my MFA early in life. However, I do truly believe that everything happens in its own time. So, perhaps had I done so, my head would not have been in the place where it would have been possible to craft my artistic practice as I have.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Catching Time (stones/wood panel), NOT installation, White Lies (white net with white sand), ReThanks overall: Timmerman Photography, Ground Cover aerial: Todd Photographic, Ground Cover ground install: Josh Loeser, ReThanks child maker, ProofReading #4 handkerchief: Artist

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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