Artists on Coping: Morgan Jesse Lappin

Morgan Lappin photographed by Hannah Bryan, 2012

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Art Spiel is reaching out to artists to learn how they are coping.

Morgan Jesse Lappin b. 1979 is a visual artist, entertainer, musician and image-maker Lappin first started creating collage art in 2007 for a clothing company creating original designs. In 2008, Lappin moved to Brooklyn and began working with paper to create contemporary collages. His art, like his mind, is a combination of comedy and chaos with elements of music, vintage horror and sci-fi. Lappin’s work ranges from seven-foot- long cartoon metropolises, to fictional album covers, to take-out Greek diner coffee cups embedded with tiny paper worlds. He uses nostalgic material from his childhood from the 80s, such as VHS Tape boxes, video game cartridges, and any other 80’s household items that could cause you to experience flashbacks. Having a background in collecting and curating, he set out to assemble some of his favorite collage artists from NYC, and so in 2013 the Brooklyn Collage Collective was born. The BCC has now exhibited all over the world and has a strong global presence amongst collage makers and collectors alike.

AS: How are you coping?

MJL: It’s been tough of course, for a multitude of reasons. Normal schedules no longer exist, the world is changing quickly in many directions, the energy can be overwhelming, and distracting. If it wasn’t for unemployment and the stimulus, I honestly don’t know where I would be at this point.

So the best you can do is surround yourself with positive energy, talking to family, friends, and of course doing my best to keep busy with art and creating music to inspire people. One positive note about all this is that it’s allowed me to have the time to reach out to other artists, and work on collaborative ventures. I recently had the opportunity to work with Prince of Lilies, a bad ass band from Greece, making big waves lately, and they just recorded a song with Steve Albini (Nirvana, The Stooges, The Jesus Lizard)

Besides that, I recently joined an online theater group with my puppets called Johno and Friends and we’ve been performing live every week. We’re currently experimenting with new ideas, but this has been a positive venture for the last few weeks I’m making my collage work in between plus I recently teamed up with Skillshare and will have collage making lessons available through their website so keep your eyes peeled.

Johno and Friends Online Theater Group

AS: Has your routine changed?

MJL: My schedule is now completely chaotic. Sleeping pattern has changed, eating, and everything else. However, I will be working diligently to come up with a set pattern to follow because I think it helps with my mental state. A chaotic schedule could result in a lot of stress.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I launched an original collage apparel line. It started off strong, but because of Covid-19 all the companies that create the clothing in China are no longer allowed to ship to the states. This of course was a major blow to my business as an artist and there’s still no light at the end of the tunnel in regards to when this might change.

Because of covid I had no choice but to close the Brooklyn Collage Collective Gallery, and my heart goes out to all the other galleries, and music venues who had to close their doors. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be any idea as to when social distancing will phase out.

AS: Can you describe some of your feelings about all this?

MJL: The change and the state of our planet has been a lot to process. A lot happened at once, and of course we can only hope that positive change comes from this, but it’s hard to tell because It seems like we’re still so far away from what needs to be accomplished. I don’t believe that I’ll be alive to see it happen so all I can do is continue to create visual and audible art to inspire in a positive and creative way. There are days where it is difficult to get up and go about your day, and I’m still trying to do better every day.

Civitas Sominia – 2020 – Analog Collage – 24 x 24

AS: What matters most right now?

MJL: Trying to keep mentally and physically healthy. Sadly it’s hard to keep your head up when our country is in the state that it’s in. I try to not spend too much time reading the news although I like to keep updated on what’s happening.

AS: Any thoughts about the road ahead?

MJL: It’s hard to plan because everything seems so unclear at this point. So I’ll keep making art, reaching out to collaborate with artists I love, helping people to laugh, and to keep hope alive for a better tomorrow! My advice is to keep close to your friends and family, be creative, and to love one another.

Air Mail City #2 – 2019 – Analog Collage – 5 x 6

Etty Yaniv works on her art, art writing and curatorial projects in Brooklyn. She founded Art Spiel as a platform for highlighting the work of contemporary artists, including art reviews, studio visits, interviews with artists, curators, and gallerists. For more details contact by Email: