The Mural Work of Haley Morris' Memorabilia Productions
Exploring businesses in the neighborhood you may have come to familiarize yourself with a lot of diverse murals. Several of them are painted by me! I'm Haley Morris and have lived around the near west side since 2009.
My family moved to Cleveland in 1999 by way of Alabama, Tennessee, and California. My sister and I grew up with our mom who would do all kinds of creative things to make ends meet and always encouraged us to explore that side of life.
While attending Cleveland School of the Arts high school 2005 – 2008 I finished my first mural project in my bedroom! A very teenage thing to do, the subject I chose was my favorite band. In pencil, my favorite medium at the time, I drew the band Tears For Fears from their album “Songs From The Big Chair” on my 14'x 20' wall. I was/am a very dedicated fan and I kept at those pencils for 6 months. The result was a pretty dreamy teenage bedroom in that loft apartment. Something Annie Potts might have fashioned herself in "Pretty In Pink"... or maybe I'm thinking more of the giant Billy Idol looking face in Demi Moore's apartment in "St. Elmo's Fire". Cooler still, when we moved out of that apartment, we ended up sawing the drywall off the studs and taking the mural with us! It has spent most of it's life since wrapped in plastic but has made a few appearances displayed once at the Slovenian National Home during one of the first Cleveland Fleas and also for a period of time at Mahall's 20 Lanes in Lakewood. This was the beginning of my love for doing large scale work.
One of the great things about living on the near west side is that just about everyone I've met works for a local business in some capacity or even owns one! I've had the pleasure of working for some greats too like The Root Cafe, Rising Star Coffee, & Mason's Creamery. All of the above have provided opportunities to meet and share ideas with others in the community. Stephanie Sheldon of the Cleveland Flea recruited me for one of my first murals in the neighborhood after seeing my work at the Root Cafe. We brainstormed and were inspired by vintage travel postcards which helped me create an interpretation of the Cleveland skyline. This mural is located at The Market Garden Brewery on W. 25th in their “Harbor Room” which can be booked for special events. I went on to paint another mural for Sam McNulty, the outdoor brick sign for Nano Brew.
I was very lucky to see my good friend Alex Nosse open up his bike shop, Joy Machines, in the neighborhood and was able to do some work that was a little closer to my heart. We used the theme of the Guardians of Transportation from the Carnegie bridge, inspired by a similar piece done in The Root Cafe by Nathan Melaragno. I'm heavily influenced by Suprematism in my designs as well as lots of 80's album art like that of Peter Saville & Factory Records. I also relish the opportunity to use bright colors. This played a role in reimagining a minimal sporty graphic from an old coffee mug to come up with the Victorian ladies and the African tribesmen on bikes connected by lines that span the whole shop.
Shortly before Mason's Creamery opened in the old OHC Ice Cream/Dari Delite spot, Helen, Jesse and I had been talking about painting something fun on the property. I came up with a cartoony version of Forest Gump from the scene where he's chowing down on ice cream cones in the hospital bed. With the outdoor movies in the summer, I had a lot of fun making posters with movie/ice cream puns, and thus I found it perfect. The Mason's font and patterns were inspired by a lot of 90s cartoons. A trip to get ice cream makes me think of being a kid, and the mural reflects that for me. You can find Forest on the barn in the grassy yard behind Mason's where they show movies!
Murals are grand scale pieces that go a long way to change scenery and alter people's moods. I see potential mural sites everywhere I look. I think of them as a relatively simple way to create positive drama in an otherwise plain or forgotten space.
In all of my dabbling I've created a brand for my work that I call “Memorabilia Productions”. I use it when creating accessories, murals, themed dance parties, and counting. It's a great pleasure to take part in the stories of so many businesses and people in a town I love. I hope you have enjoyed the work I've created in the neighborhood so far! I hope there's plenty more to come. Keep your eyes peeled for my signature symbol!
You can find more of my work at www.memorabiliaproductions.com
I am an artist, musician, and local radio DJ "Himiko Gogo" of Pleasure Leftists Thursdays 9am-11am at WCSB 89.3. I have lived on the near west side along with my mother since 2009 and like to take part in the community working for local businesses and contributing whatever skills I can. I brand all of my work, murals, events, accessories with "Memorabilia Productions". www.memorabiliaproductions.com to learn more!