“Color makes the piece; I’m just the manager.”
When you walk through the front door of Jack Morris’ Fountain Hills home, you enter another world. Every wall in every room is artfully adorned, mostly with works from the artist himself. The art ranges from abstracts to collages, painted frames and wine bags, quirky birds, tortoises and statement jewelry to crosses made out of cholla and saguaro, decorated gourds and masks, and Mexican sugar skulls.
And, of course, butterflies. For the past three years, Jack has painted butterflies for the Fountain Hills Community Foundation’s Flutter at the Fountain Fundraiser. His unique style is an annual favorite among bidders, beginning with Ode to the Wings of Floating to the Sky (2020), and followed by Free and Easy (2021) and Ode to Poetry on Painted Wings (2022). His 2024 butterfly, Ode to the Night Butterfly, is currently in the finishing stages and will be up for auction as part of Flutter at the Fountain 2024, April 12-14.
The accomplished artist, whose unique work is featured in countless corporate and private collections throughout the United States, said he’s never at a loss for inspiration.
“Color makes the piece; I’m just the manager,” Jack said as he explained his painting technique which is full of light and texture. “I use colors that work together and watch as they push and pull to interact with each other. I like to build things up and move them around. I love to see spontaneous color patterns develop.”
Jack, whose given name is John, said he’s been an artist since the 10th grade. He received a Bachelor of Science degree, with a major in Art Education, from the University of Wisconsin Stout and a Masters Degree of Fine Arts, majoring in painting, from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Following a collegiate teaching career in Wisconsin and Colorado, Jack went to work for FedEx, where he retired from in 2012. Now he paints every day in his garage, a make-shift studio where old buckets of paint line the shelves and works in progress are errantly stacked just outside the border of a paint-splattered floor. Even his backyard is full of magic and color, dense with a vegetable garden, bird baths, a hand-built chiminea with bricks from his mother’s home, and a real tortoise named Sunburst.
“I’ve been here 20 years. This town inspires me. I enjoy this town and its people.”