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Meet Surface Fan Morgan Sorne: Visual Artist, Composer and Performer
By Mona Cao as written on blogs.windows.com
Morgan Sorne is a multi-disciplinary, award-winning prolific visual artist, musician, actor and filmmaker, boasting an unparalleled vocal range with perfect pitch. He brings listeners to tears with his intense, emotive, hypnotic angelic falsetto and has churned crowds into a writhing frenzy with his bone-rattling dynamism and range. In his own words, “it’s as if Jean-Michel Basquiat, Daniel-Day Lewis, David Bowie, Jeff Buckley and Bjork got together and had a baby.”
The Surface Pro 4 is Morgan’s proud go-to to produce music and visual art with software such as Ableton Live and Adobe Photoshop. I enjoyed meeting and getting to know Morgan this past year after inviting him to participate in a music and technology panel at Microsoft Store Westfield Century Center in LA, where he spoke to a group of public attendees about his passion and love of all thing music and art. It was in person that I got to see firsthand his skilled drawings and sketches that are as unique, expressive and thought-provoking as his sound, performance and work in other media.
Let’s hear more from Morgan on his passion and artistry:
Your work is such a unique blend of visual installation, musical composition and performance. What was your inspiration for SORNE and pursuing so many different forms of media and expression?
As a kid I was inspired by the immersive worlds created in films like Star Wars. I also grew up on stage, performing in musicals, plays, musical acts and choirs. I found that I was drawn to creating environments, having also discovered an ability to visually render characters and ideas, it felt very natural to move between mediums. Each process fed the other. Rather than fight that process, I have embraced it as my means of creating a signature point of expression.
What’s a project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?
I am nearing the end of a fifteen-year cycle of work, a multi-media opera spanning six volumes of music called, House of Stone. I brought this world to live through installations in museums and galleries, a live show featuring a dance troupe formed around the project and a series of short films which speak to the overarching themes of House of Stone. The vision for years has been to create a graphic novel of House of Stone as a companion and ultimately, a film or TV series, accompanied by a touring theatre production.
What do you like about creating on Surface? Do you use pen, touch, or a combination?
I love the portability of the Surface and use the pen to illustrate. The precision is fantastic. I also use the pen in creating animations of my drawings.
What experiences have stood out to you?
I recently created a series of animated drawings using the Surface for a TED Talk at Oxford for the Lauren’s Kids Foundation. The TED talk dealt with Lauren Book’s five years of child abuse when she was an adolescent by her nanny. As an adult she founded the Lauren’s Kids Foundation to help children identify sexual predators and unsafe situations at home and in public. Lauren’s team sent me the script for her talk and I picked certain images that came to mind along with pulling from Lauren’s ideas and images. I’ve developed a series of animated characters for interactive packets given to students grades pre-k-8th grade throughout public schools in Florida and won a few ADDY awards for the kits our team made for Lauren. The beautiful thing is that the materials are working and kids are coming forward and identifying unsafe situations that they find themselves in. Also I recently toured Europe with CocoRosie and used the Surface Pro 4 to run my live sets and loops in some of the most beautiful venues. To be able to hop on a plane with a full live show on a device that is the size of a tablet has been a dream come true.
What do you love most about using Surface in work or life?
I love the portability of the Surface and use the pen to illustrate. The tablet feel is so important to me and I love the ability to draw right in Photoshop and Illustrator. The precision is fantastic. I also use the pen in creating animations of my drawings. A big desire of mine for a long time has been to have a device that is the size of a tablet but with the capabilities of a laptop. Portability is essential as I travel around the world and need tools that can handle the programs necessary for executing my work. As a traveling musician and artist I need tools that are as seamless in the visual presentation on stage as they are powerful in running the programs needed to pull off amazing live experiences. To be able to use programs like Ableton Live and the entire Adobe Creative Suite has totally enhanced the game and made it possible for me to reach larger audiences worldwide.
What’s something recent you’re working on with Surface now that you’re really excited about?
Right now I am working on a graphic novel project with Saul Williams in which I am drawing and coloring the entire book using the Surface. I can’t talk too much about it yet, but it is going to be an incredible project and the Surface will be a central component in the production of the book and visuals for Williams’ live show.
SORNE just released the fourth volume for his epic avant garde one-man opera, House of Stone‘ You can find the latest volume, ‘House of Stone: Death IV’ here.