We had the good fortune of connecting with Morgan Kemp and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Morgan, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I started my business, A Wild Thing’s Art, to create artwork that was more than just something pretty for your walls. I spend most of my free time outside doing a variety of activities: raft guiding, skiing, climbing, and backpacking. I see the beauty of the world but also how much she needs our help, I feel called to advocate for the voiceless, and the best way I know how is through my art. I am a wildlife artist, my inspiration comes from my time outside, and I use my art to honor the spaces I co-inhabit with other wild things. My goal is two-fold. I strive to capture the beauty of the wildlife around me that inspires my spirit, and ultimately create unique pieces that ignite conversations about animals, and the environment. I am currently working on an ocean and shark series to raise funds and awareness about the alarming decrease in shark populations due to bycatch, finning, and the cosmetic industry. A percentage of every piece sold goes to shark conservation efforts, but more importantly it gives the opportunity to educate folks on the issue. Education is powerful and the conversational spark art has burns into a wildfire of support for an issue.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a multimedia artist. I started like all the greats do, with finger paints on my mother’s kitchen table. I eventually broadened my mediums to watercolors and linoleum block printing, but my favorite medium to use is steel and aluminum. I graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree (fun fact) and a minor in Sculpture, traveling every six months as a ski instructor or raft guide made it difficult to maintain a metal studio, so I mostly use 2D mediums. I have had opportunities to paint along rivers, oceans, nestled in mountains and in a cargo trailer I converted into a tiny home.
My journey to become a Professional Artist had its ups and downs. The opportunity to do what I am truly passionate about is one I will always be grateful for, but it is very taxing on the psyche and a lot of hard work. I struggled a lot with not feeling like I could claim I was an artist until I was wildly successful. I struggled with the eye rolls from folks when I said I was an artist. If you say you are an engineer no one follows up with “are you any good”, but as someone in a creative field I constantly have to validate my work. When I found myself struggling to identify my brand and my business’s values I focused in on my other passion: nature. After that, everything became clear: my purpose, my art, my business is all to help the wild world I co-inhabit. Having a clear goal has given me confidence to ignore the mocking tones, because I am doing more than just painting: I am a wild thing with a cause!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would absolutely take someone to the arboretum, it’s truly a gorgeous place to walk and enjoy the flora. After I would head over to Smokey Rose across the street from the arboretum. I love their cocktails, atmosphere and brisket nachos! I am not a big city person, so I would follow up with a trip to Lake Lewisville and enjoy some quiet while watching all the boats, water-skiers, and kayaking paddle around. There’s a local donut shop that is the absolute best that I always go to for special mornings called Good Morning Donut, in Highland Village. A few other activities I would take someone to would be the local skate parks in the DFW area as well as the climbing gym, Summit, both places are well maintained and filled with wonderful people. Lastly I would take someone around Bishop Arts to see all the lovely small businesses, grab a bite at the Grilled Cheese Restaurant and close the evening with a pie from Pie Emporium.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to my family, especially my mom and sister Page and Tricia Kemp, for their unceasing love and support for my wild ways; I also want to thank the wild things that inspire my creations and my business.
the rafting photo was shot by Shefy