Billy Morrison is familiar for rocking on stages alongside some of the greatest rock-n-roll front men: Billy Idol, Ozzy Osbourne, and Mark McGrath. Now, he has transcended his talents from stroking guitar strings to stroking canvases.
“I truly believe that art is for the masses, and not for the upper echelon societies. I have been to many art shows where I feel out of place. I don’t wear a suit for anyone, and quite frankly that gets you looked down upon. For my show, I don’t want anyone leaving feeling this way.”
Through his art exhibit “Mixed Messages,” Morrison is using his creativity to include more in the conversation of ‘mixed messages’ and to fight against human trafficking by donating some of his proceeds.
“I come from a punk rock attitude. It doesn’t matter how you have been trained to say something as long as you have something to say. We are all the same.” (Morrison)
“One of my signature pieces is ‘Clockwork Orange.’ The character out of this movie is one of the most iconic images of the 21st century. The truth of the matter is the character tortures and kills elderly people. I have another painting of Sid Vicious. These are suspect icons. “
Morrison continues, “My job as an artist is to put the question out there. I am asking that we think about our choices. We sell kids mixed messages every day. All art should do is make you think.”
Friends and entertainers came to celebrate and share their support around causes and conversations dear to Morrison’s heart.
“I had known Billy for years even before he started painting. He is trying to intrigue the audience to provoke them into conversations. He is a very humble and conscious man.” (Hodge)
Hodge mentions, “Most people do not understand that it [human trafficking] is slavery. There are many forms of it [slavery]: human sex trafficking, human organ trafficking, human adoption trafficking, and indentured servitude. Billy wants us to be aware and active. So what are we going to do?”
Commemorating this weekend’s Tony Awards, which highlights some forms of “mixed messages” with its multicultural art, LAEntNews asked guests, who or what art would they award a “Billy” (instead of “Tony”).
Morrison chose, “My black and white painting of Prince would win best all-around category because Prince influenced everyone.”
Rock to Recovery founder and Korn band member, Wesley Geer, selected one of his songs to receive a “Billy”.
“My lead singer was a Portuguese Black, but we would have skinheads come to our shows.” So I would give it a [“Billy award”].
The song speaks about, “his [my former band’s lead singer] racist experiences and categorize it as ‘friend helping friend with their pain’ award.”
Art is all about mixing messages, mixing sounds, mixing colors, mixing images, mixing cultures, mixing feelings, and mixing beliefs to say something of relevance about what this ‘mixed’ world is and what a ‘mixed’ world could be.