Artist Spotlight: Willard Morgan

by Adam Kluger

Creative Renaissance Man Williard Morgan

Will, you’ve lived a fascinating life as a performance artist, musician, fashion designer, filmmaker, actor, and patron of the arts. What is the driving force behind this need to create interesting art? 

WM: The driving force behind my need to create is primarily due to my background, being born into a artistic and bombastic family.   My mother was a gifted opera singer who was a Metropolitan Opera semi-finalist. So when I was born, I came out of the womb into the equivalence of the fantastic musical drag show, that is opera .   Suzy, my mom, was constantly singing and always surrounded by fellow theatre artists.  My father, on the other hand, was a charming, handsome, rageaholic who most often took center stage.  So it was a highly theatrical experience growing up between these two divas!   My need to compete and subdue this noisy household led me to develop some formidable skills of my own.  Besides being cast as the ‘court jester’  in the family and life  early on, at summer camp and at home, I was always juggling and conducting my own imaginary orchestra.  Always looking for great cellists to collaborate with!   Know any? 

What does it mean to live the life of an artist? You’ve traveled from Europe to Cuba and beyond seeking out inspiration. Can a lifestyle be an art form too? 

WM:  My lifestyle has been an art form, indeed, as I was born in Greenwich Village, and I was surrounded by the artists  and the  bohemian at every turn.  The poet, singer, and painter were championed in our neighborhood, from the White Horse Tavern to the Duplex, Max’s Kansas City, to The Bitter End, Washington Square Park, The Electric Lady Studios,  the first Whitney Museum of American Art,   The Village in the ’50s and ’60s was a  mecca for the arts, compared with Paris in the ‘’20s. I was traveling in Europe at fourteen and fifteen, which was unheard of at the time.  I was always the youngest on the tours I was booked on. I went to high school in Lugano, Switzerland, studied in Madrid and Paris, and Dublin.  I always had my bag packed and wound up speaking French, Spanish, and Italian to further my art and travels. Japanese still lies within my grasp, I keep telling myself.

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