semantikon feature artist

Feb/Mar 2008
Ken Morgan


About Artist:

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ken morgan, connecticut, drawings, circus, acrobat,
feature artist ken morgan
ken morgan picture

Artist Bio:
     I 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.

Artist Statement
Thought 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.
The 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.

I’ve 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.

My performing past surfaces and as an artist, today, I remain that entertainer.

Given the choice of work or play – I’ve chosen play.

The 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
what purpose?

I create safe havens, mindscapes, places to play, momentary impossible realities, my guard left elsewhere.

Here I find hope for tomorrow.

New Tricks
ken morgan
ken morgan
ken morga
The Sensational Sheridans
Outside Act
ken morgan
ken morgan
ken morgan drawings
Canon Act
The Zantinis
ken morgan drawings
ken morgan drawings
The Tricksters
The Jigglers
The Romper Room:
Alone in a visual room of play, all remains private, upon longer visits, more. It’s for those moments I look forward to."

ken morgan
ken morgan
ken morgan
Multiple Page Drawings:
My pen in chase
searches for its shapes.
Sometimes found
Sometimes not –
It digs deep then stops…

…only to start again.

ken morgan
ken morgan
ken morgan

Download Exclusive Broadside Posters for this feature.

Ken Morgan:
The Circus Comes to Town
(228 kB PDF)

only from Three fools Press/