We featured the brand-new ceramic tableware range by John Murphy earlier this week (here), but we wanted to showcase more of his fabulous product range as we are such fans of his work. American artist John Murphy creates beautiful limited edition prints which are regularly exhibited in Philadelphia and New York, and collected worldwide. His imagery merges vintage and modern sensibilities exploring ideas of beauty and fantasy within the decorative arts – and the results are absolutely stunning.
John’s body of work includes an exclusive stationery set published by TeNeues, open-edition prints distributed worldwide into select retail and museum stores, and a brand-new ceramic tableware range. His work also encompasses gorgeous photography presented in his own signature hand-finished frames. Recent shops selling John’s stationary and frames include the Contemporary Arts Museum, TX; International Center for Photography, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, MA; the J Paul Getty Museum, CA; Nassau County Museum of Art, NY; and the New York Public Library, NY.
John works in New York, and in Philadelphia where he lives outside of the city with his wife and two small children – who love to art direct their dad whenever possible! Here is our interview with Mr M:
Q. How and when did you first become interested in art and design?
A. I’ve made art for as long as I can remember. Like most kids, I drew all of the time when I was little. It sounds pretentious, but it’s really how I process information and the world around me. I honestly can’t imagine not doing it.
Q. How difficult has it been for you to establish yourself as an artist? Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to where you are now?
A. I’m trained as a painter and showed my work for many years in galleries. I also did curatorial work for 10 years. I’m really feeling at home doing what I do now, but it’s been a long road getting here.
Q. How would you describe your creative process?
A. Hmmm… I don’t know that I can. Only that I am inspired everyday and file away a lot of visual information which somehow shows up in the things I make. I do also need to physically play around with things quite a bit to work it out. I’m not the type to come up with an idea and then just realize it.
Q. What is a typical day for you like? Is there such a thing as a ‘typical’ day?
A. Things change day to day and I’ve learned that flexibility is key. For real.
Q. How do you know when a project is complete?
A. I’m more decisive now than I used to be. I suppose I’ve learned to trust my intuition. I can also abandon a project pretty easily if it’s not working out. If it’s something worth doing, it will show up again another time.
Q. What tool or medium could you not live without?
A. My Mac.
Q. We always find it fascinating to see peoples’ working space.. whether it be their studios or bedrooms, kitchens, garages.. or a tiny space on their living room floor! Please could you describe your working space, to give us a sense of where and how you?
A.The studio is in the ground floor of our home. It’s not the sexiest space I’ve had, but having everything in-house really works with our lifestyle. Justine (my wife) tends to be the tidy one in here, while I’ve been known to be less so – walking around with bubble wrap stuck to my shoe for example, or holding the very thing I’m looking for. Nevertheless, zero commute and the ability to run through the sprinkler with the kids while something is drying…priceless.
Q. Can you tell us about just some of the clients you have worked with over the recent years?
A. My best clients are the individual customers who buy my work for their home. I always say I have the best clients in the world. I am truly grateful to each of them for their support.
Q. Who, or what, would you say has been your biggest inspirations for your illustration work?
A. My kids. They help me take risks every day.
Q. You exhibit and sell your artwork at art, design and craft fairs in the US.. How important to you is having this platform/outlet for your work – sharing your imagery with the public and with other craftsmen?
A. That element of what I do is huge for me. I have a few galleries that rep my work, but I love having direct contact with my customers. With so much emphasis being placed on online sales, it’s great to meet face to face. It’s so much more personal and I love that they take the leap with me. The fellow artists and crafts people I work with are also incredibly important to me. Many of them have become my closest friends. They work their asses off and I have a great deal of respect for each of them.
Q. Any recurring themes in your work?
A. Color is probably what I obsess over the most.
Q. What advice would you give to anyone struggling to find their own way in a similar field?
A. Don’t let the systems that define your field dictate how you do things …and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Q. What are you currently working on? Do you have any new and exciting projects coming up?
A. With the risk of speaking too soon…I’m working on a few items for the home – a ceramic line, a wallpaper range and possibly some bedding. Emphasis on the word “working” 🙂 (see our feature on John’s fab ceramic launch here!)
Q. How do you maintain a balance between work and life?
A. My wife works with me now in the studio and we have two small kids. Having schedules in place is crucial. I work everyday and often sell in NY on the weekends, but I end my working day when my kids get home from school so we have time together as a family. That time is really important to me.
Q. What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
A. Jeez, I dunno! Whatever it is, I hope it’s not embarrassing!
Q. Do you have lots of artwork in your own home? If so, can you tell us about one or two pieces specifically? Any favourites?
A. We do have a lot of artwork in our house and a lot in my flat-files I’m sad to report. I like mixing established artist’s works with emerging artists and stuff from my kids. Simply put, we like what we like.
Q. What would be your dream collaboration or project?
A. We own an old building in Philadelphia where my studio used to be. I often think about turning it into a shop that would be styled as if someone lived there. Hmmm…maybe one day…
Thanks so much John! x