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Denton artist uses design to spark joy in self and others

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Article Originally Published by Maria Lawson on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Maria Lawson on North Texas Daily

What begins as a sketch in a sketchbook is then inked with a Micron and uploaded on a computer to add colors and final touches. UNT alumna and artist Claire Morales creates psychedelic, whimsical art with the goal of bringing happiness to those who view her work.

“It kind of started this year, with everything that was happening with the pandemic,” Claire said. “I’ve been a freelancer for a while and always had really steady work, and suddenly it was all dried up. I had a lot of time to explore and figure out what I really wanted to do, and this was something that was really fun for me to do, so it kind of came out of that.”

Claire uses her work to uplift herself and the people around her.

“I usually just try to make things that put a smile on my face, and [things that will] to lead to something fun and whimsical and happy,” Claire said. “If I have friends [who are] in a low place like most of us have been this year in one way or another, I think about what would make me happy or what would brighten my day, and that definitely has an influence on what I make.”

Claire’s experience with art began when she was a child attending art classes, and those classes became her happy place.

“I remember being a kid who was pretty shy and had a hard time making friends, and a lot of the times, a good ice breaker was [when] I’d be drawing something and a classmate would want a commission,” Claire said. “I remember in preschool this happening. It was kind of a way to make friends, like, ‘Hey, I can draw you something if you want.’ That was kind of how it started.”

Her family members have been able to see her passion for art from a young age.

”Before she was even two years old, she started drawing and singing seriously,” said David Morales, Denton resident and Claire’s father. “While her mother and I always encouraged her, we did not push her at all. She would ask for colored markers as a Christmas present, and wear them out sketching women’s fashion, anime characters and stories from her imagination.”

Claire said she uses colors in her work to go against societal standards for art.

“I think when I was younger [and] I did really colorful stuff, people thought it was super garish and immature, but I think that being really colorful is an act of rebellion in a world where you’re supposed to be more subdued,” Claire said.

One of Claire’s friends, Denton resident Megan Storie, said Claire’s pieces make her feel hopeful.

”I think Claire has a fantastic ability [to create] colorful worlds through her work,” Storie said. “When you look at it, you are totally transported. She can take a still life scene and bring the subjects to life [by] adding pouty lips and far away eyes, like the cute fruit characters that she illustrates. You are taken to a place of joy and playfulness.”

Claire graduated from UNT with a degree in communication design.

“It required a lot of drawing classes, so that was a cool way [to learn more],” Claire said. “I hadn’t taken that since I was a kid, so college was a big part of developing my drawing skills.”

Claire said she uses her work to portray messages of happiness, but also more serious ones like women empowerment. 

“I feel like some of my work is more serious than other parts of it,” Claire said. “I [draw] a lot of women [who] are really powerful-looking, like goddesses or witches. I hope women look at it and feel like they have all the power to do whatever they want.”

Claire is also a musician, and she said the two art forms work hand in hand.

“I always do all the sets for my music videos and album art, things like that,” Claire said. “It’s come in handy having art design skills. You can make your own posters and stickers and merch, and that was definitely a way I sold a lot of my art without really realizing it.”

Her music is different from her artwork, she said, because her songs typically convey deeper messages.

“I think music for me is a lot more serious and emotional,” Claire said. “I think that’s where I show the side of myself that’s more like, ‘What is [the] human condition?’ and ‘Why are we on this Earth?’”

Claire’s work can be viewed on her Instagram account, @ClaireMoralesDesigns, or her website, ClaireMoralesDesign.com.

Featured Image: Claire Morales poses with her art in the backyard of her Denton home on Oct. 19, 2020. Image by Meredith Holser

Source: North Texas Daily


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