A British artist, designer and writer now based in Providence, Lisa Z. Morgan is a cofounder of STRUMPET & PINK and also of The Lavender Hinge. In addition, she contributes to SHOWstudio, The Laboratory Arts Collective and Eavves. STRUMPET & PINK, a collaboration between two artists “to create the perfect pair of knickers,” has been featured in six books and is included in several private collections, along with the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Morgan’s work has been featured and reviewed in W, Elle, Vogue, LOVE, Tatler, Interview, The New York Times, The LA Times, The Financial Times, The Guardian, Wallpaper, The Telegraph, AnOther, Purple Magazine, S Magazine, TWELV and The Huffington Post, among other publications.
In 2011 Morgan was commissioned to curate and author the book Design Behind Desire, a compendium of desirable objects that has been exhibited at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan as an object of desire unto itself. In 2014, through The Lavender Hinge, Morgan opened The Lavender Hinge Showroom @ The Belesario in Buffalo, NY, which is both a site-specific installation and a representation of a gallery. Morgan holds a Master of Arts degree from the Royal College of Art in London and also began research toward a PhD at the same college. Since her research focused on the development of a philosophy of the sensuous through the investigation of the color pink, her pseudonym became The Pink Investigator.
(Tumbleweed (as witness) detail by Lisa Z. Morgan, 2015. Silk mohair, head hair, pubic hair, chest hair, underarm hair, facial hair)
What do you do best?
Be myself although, this is a fluid yet constant work in progress.
I remain curious and passionate about life, people and ideas. The older I get the more I realize how much there is to learn and to discover and this in itself becomes a phenomenal drive, not only to create but to live. It is also wonderful to find myself at the age that I am and yet to remain as excited as I was when I first began this creative journey. Finally, the realization that what I do the best is what I enjoy the most.
My children say I am the best Mother, which makes me beam.
What makes you the best?
A mélange of sensibilities and emotions in varying and shifting proportions; enthusiasm, passion, commitment, idealism, curiosity, integrity, desire, insecurity, non-conformity, belief, stubborn-ness, irreverence, humor.
What are your aspirations?
Beyond the ultimate aspiration of nurturing two children into conscious sentient beings, I aspire to move people emotionally through my work, be that on a visual level or through the ignition of ideas. My aspiration is to connect with people in ways that almost go unnoticed. I am very drawn to the notion of small scale actions and how something small, a nuance, a different way of looking or approaching something, can have a profound shift upon one’s thinking or way of being, call it a ripple effect if you will? I think this somehow connects to intuition or an inner sense of knowing. I ‘aspire,’ if you will to have a conversation with the inner voice.
I can state clearly and unabashedly that I have brought two beautiful children into the world (and with no intervention or medication, one born wonderfully at home too). It might sound to be something of a cliché but the level of achievement or unsurmountable delight and satisfaction that comes from this ‘creation’ is different from anything that I can create with my work. I think it simply comes from the fact that my children are entities in themselves and I really have no direct control over their outcome. It is my job to guide and nurture what is inherently them. Whereas with my work, as it is so connected to channeling or uncovering desires and thoughts that lie both within and without, that I don’t feel that I can be nearly so bold in stating my success as the horribly critical demon voice usually seeks to improve and control and point out what can or could have been done better. Although having a piece of work in the permanent collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum is certainly a tremendous thrill.
Ultimately the biggest success is still having such a strong desire to do what I want to do with my work at this point in my life and still being excited about where the journey may take me.
Most Challenging Moment?
Giving birth! You are confronted with yourself and a huge amount of pain.
I have had many challenging moments and periods in my life. I could create a substantial list for the ‘most challenging moments’ however, for now I will focus on the most prolonged challenging moment, which in many ways is still actively in motion. I moved to the US from the UK and on arrival discovered that I had been issued with a tourist visa while the father of my children and my children received more assured visas. We had never been married and so what is the norm in the UK i.e co-habiting, suddenly became a huge divider within a family. Simply, it meant that on arrival here, I was not able to do anything related to my work or with regard to making a living. I had been able to do more work in the US when I was living in the UK than when I was actually here, which made no sense at all. I was regularly on the potential edge of having to leave the country and the experience was profoundly un-nerving. It was a horrible position to be in when one’s life is based around one’s family. As the Mother, I suddenly had no rights at all. It has been an incredible struggle to become established here and this process is still very much a work in progress.
But I also have to admit that I do have a need to generate challenge as I find it a very fertile place to be and to create. Something happens in the space between fear and excitement, which stimulates. I am not very good at sitting on my laurels so throughout my life I have chosen to move countries and relocate and ‘challenge’ myself.
(Buttonhole Practice by The Lavender Hinge, 2013. Linen, cotton thread, 16x12 inches)
The following comes from my grandmother ‘ask anybody for anything because they can only say no’ in other words always ask somebody/anybody for anything because they may say yes and even if the response is a no, you have not lost anything through asking. It is also highly possible that another suggestion or possibility may emerge through positing the question.
I feel that each of my questions move from the inside to the outside but it would have to be my children, my girlfriends, my Father, my collaborators, my mentors, my idols.
My bed. The daisy field on top of Arnside Knott, the moss limestone spring at Wood Well, Dover Street Market, the V&A, London, Venice, NYC.
My ‘stay on all day’ Red Lipstick. I have used the same colour and brand for over 25 years. All good quality 70% cocao chocolate.
Current and ongoing: A new body of work that I am beginning called Mr and Mrs Chairs, which I will create with upholstery fabrics, particularly pink silk velvet and leather. The work that I am doing with The Laboratory Arts Collective. Desire. The ripple effect……..
(Painting White Snow Pink (the scene), by Lisa Z. Morgan, 2015. Carmine ink, badger brush, stoneware bowl.)