Kevin Morgan’s artwork has been called the “look of Athens.”
Local artist Morgan, 53, said in an interview last week that he’s been working on artwork and graphic projects in the Athens area since he was 14. This year, as in years past, Morgan has created the featured artwork for Ohio Brew Week and Ohio Pawpaw Festival, although his artwork can be found everywhere – T-shirts and the front covers of newspapers are easy examples.
Morgan also recently got a design approved for new art wraps for GoBus inter-city transit buses.
For his monk-tastic Brew Week artwork (shown with this article), Morgan said he delved into historical beer-brewing traditions. Monks have had a hand in beer brewing since the advent of Benedictine monasteries in Europe in the Sixth Century.
For the Pawpaw Festival in September, Morgan said festival founder and Athens County Commissioner Chris Chmiel’s desire to educate the public with the festival was foremost in his mind when making the fly design (see image with this article). Morgan said flies pollinate pawpaw flowers, hence the prominence of the lazy fly on his piece.
Morgan said he has worked with Chmiel since the very first Pawpaw festival.
With his artwork for the GoBuses, Morgan said the Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action (HAPCAP) organization (which manages GoBus) chose the most simple design that he offered, which he said he really liked.
Morgan said he traces the roots of his art style, ranging from a kind of “earthy, Athens woodblock-y look” to a “sort of ’60s throwback thing,” to his childhood influences. He said he grew up with Mad Magazine and loved the humor magazine’s art style, while pop art on posters and album covers throughout the 1960s also fascinated him. Artwork on albums– especially from artist Stanley Mouse – ranging from Bob Marley to Steve Miller to the Grateful Dead, stoked his creative fires as a young artist.
Morgan said he’s “truly blessed” for being able to make a career amid southeast Ohio’s rural beauty; he lives near Fox Lake, about 10 minutes west of Athens.
“I’m called ‘the look of Athens’ sometimes, which I take with great pride,” Morgan said. “I really enjoy just being a part of Athens… Some people are growing great food for the Farmers Market, and Jackie O’s is brewing great beer, and some people are putting solar panels on roofs. I’ve been able to help them all out (with his art), and that makes me feel like I’m a big part of the sort of ‘Athens’ movement.”
“There always needs to be a visual that goes along with all of these great things,” Morgan continued, “and I’ve just been lucky enough to be there.”
Oh, and we can’t forget to mention that Morgan designed the official Athens Halloween T-shirt logo for many years.