Illustrator Morgan Schweitzer grabs readers by the scruff of their necks every day with visual clickbait, creating drawings to accompany articles. Clickbait is kind of a cheap word to describe what Morgan does though. If his drawings rope us in, it is because they are smart and they push our emotional buttons with wit and charm.
No matter the story, Morgan uses his satirical instincts to create an image that gets us emotionally involved. For an article about a mind-controlling parasite carried by common house pets, Morgan creates a cat piloting the brain of its master. For an editorial on museum’s mining data from their visitors, he draws a gallery of sculptures where the statues’ heads are replaced by surveillance cameras.
Each image is a self-contained story that, beyond being clever, gets you immediately thinking and feeling about the subject at hand. His illustrations get into your head, but what exactly is in his? Read our interview with Morgan below to find out what makes him tick.
What is the most important thing for an artist trying to make an emotional connection through his drawings?
It’s important to find a way to personally connect to the material. If it’s not exciting for me when I’m creating a piece, it’s going to fall flat for the viewer as well.
What kinds of images resonated with you as a kid?
Maybe a little cliche, but I was especially drawn to the work of Norman Rockwell. The humor, profound attention to detail, and subtle exaggeration of the human forms in his paintings always spoke to me. My grandmother had a framed print of Rockwell’s No Swimming painting. I loved the way he captured the movement of the figures in that image.
Beyond that, I always liked the bold aesthetic sensibility of comic art. I also remember being drawn to the imaginative worlds created by James Gurney in Dinotopia, and the dreamlike beauty of Chris Van Allsburg’s illustrations.
You use a lot of humor in your art. What kinds of things make you laugh?
I’m glad that comes through. Comedy is one of the most important things to me, though I’m not sure I always approach my work from that standpoint… As for what makes me laugh, animals with human voices really gets me everytime. And, I’m a big fan of Seinfeld.
Illustration for an article about a mind-controlling parasite carried by common housepets
How has your artistic style evolved over the past few years?
Style is a tricky thing to evaluate. By nature, I’m not a very decisive person and for many years I felt like I was constantly being pulled in all different directions because there were so many different types of art that I admired. It was only when I stopped trying to have a style that my true voice started to emerge.
Now I approach every project with no stylistic consideration, but simply do what comes most naturally and seems like the most fun to me. Even now, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface in exploring my own artistic voice. But, it’s an exciting feeling.
What are you most interested in lately?
I’ve always enjoyed working on conceptual topics. Projects where I’m able to find visual solutions to describe abstract concepts are the most exciting to me because they yield the most uniquely creative solutions. That said, I’m also driven by an interest in creating narrative images.
Lately I’ve also been especially excited about exploring motion with static images, and I’ve finally admitted to myself that the vibrant color aesthetic of the early nineties is a viable palette to use in my artwork.
Illustration for an article about illegal activity on the Dark Web, a covert internet
Illustration for an article on a museum’s mining data from their visitors
Illustration for an article comparing religious and non-religious homeless shelters
Illustration for an article on geoengineering to alter the globe’s climate
Illustration for an article on upcoming summer movies
Article for a feature about crackdown on independent lenders
Cover for “The Normal School” literary magazine
Illustration for an article on brain-enhancing drugs