August 24, 2013

Just a few days ago Urban Outfitters Cardiff opened their doors to an exclusive exhibition by Welsh illustrator Philip Morgan. With nearly one hundred pieces of art displayed on the walls, plus one mega mural painted in the womenswear section, this illustrated takeover is one sight for cool eyes.

Heck, we love Phil’s work so much we had to grab a chat with the man. Scroll below for some words…


UO: Hey Phil! Tell us a little about yourself…

PM: I am a freelance artist / illustrator from a small town called Penarth in Cardiff and grew up there skateboarding and drawing from an early age. I worked a bunch of dead-end jobs until I found comfort working in one of the oldest skate shop in Wales, City Surf.

I made a bunch of friends working there over the seven years and got my first break with my drawing when I designed a skateboard graphic for my co-worker Matthew Ryans’ company, Crayon Skateboards. Five years down the road I am now drawing and painting full time as my dream job.


UO: We love that mural on our wall in UO Cardiff. What does it all mean?

PM: The illustration I painted on the wall at Urban Outfitters came from a group show I took part in previously to my solo show called the Girls, Girls, Girls Show. I painted a bunch of illustrations for that show around classic rock songs. I came up with the idea to use ZZ Tops’ ‘She’s Got Legs’ and mix it up with Wonder Woman. The folks at Urban Outfitters thought that it would be very fitting for the womenswear section of the store. It’s in a prime spot on the wall just as you venture up the stairs.


UO: You also exhibited some of your other work at the exhibition – any favourites from the collection?

PM: I have close to a hundred illustrations on show throughout the Cardiff Store. I think if I had to pick one of my favourite pieces it would probably be the ‘ freestylers ‘ print I designed for the folks at Looking Sideways. It’s available from the online store also. ( )

UO: How do you dream up all these crazy characters in your drawings?

PM: I get asked that a lot. People say to me ‘How does your mind work?’ or ‘Where’s your head at?’. I basically spend a bunch of my time doodling stuff but my mind is always thinking of ways of twisting the idea whether it be words or the characters I create.


UO: Seems your work can be found across the globe. Any projects you’re particularly proud of?

PM: I’ve been very fortunate to have made friends with a few good people out in LA over the last couple of years. Michael C Hsiung is also an illustrator creating great work on that side of the pond. He hooked me up with a guy called Elvis who runs the clothing label ‘Wolves Kill Sheep’ based in downtown Los Angeles. He has printed a bunch of my illustrations on shirts which get distributed to places as far as Tokyo.

I am also a part of a group of artists for the Human Pyramids Collective run by a good guy called Hovin, also based out there ( ). I have been lucky to show my work a couple of times over there as well as London and France. I am looking forward to having work shown over in Amsterdam and Australia in the next year.


UO: What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve ever drawn?

PM: A lot of my new illustrations are these characters with stuff venturing out of their faces. I’m sure people who have seen the paintings will agree that they are a little bizarre. I’m in the process of drawing a monster character for a group show next month taking place in Bristol.

UO: How do you keep those creative juices flowing?

Coffee and beer.


UO: When did you first realise the illustration life was for you?

PM: I think I realised a few years ago that drawing was something I was actually good at. Like anything creative, if you apply yourself to it then something good will hopefully come out of it. I’m a firm believer in that.

UO: Any top tips for those with future illustration ambitions?

PM: My top tip to anyone who likes to draw is simply have fun with it. Enjoy creating work and don’t take anything too seriously. Work hard at what you do and also learn to take criticism. Make friends with as many folks doing great work and you never know what is around the corner.


UO: So you’re a fully-fledged Cardiff cat! Where are your favourite places to hang out?

PM: Milgi Bar is a great place to hang out in Roath. I recently finished a huge wall piece at the back of the bar for another group show that took place over the summer. Clwb Ifor Bach is also a great venue to watch live acts and drink some top imported beers. One of my favourite places to drink is Dempsey’s Bar opposite the castle in the city. I’ve been drinking in there for years.


UO: Do you have any weird secret talents?

PM: I’m the best air drummer in the world.


Photo Credit – Jah.Shots