Art by JoMo: Artist Jordan Morris tells all
Jordan Morris, aka JoMo and Brrrains, is a 30-year-old weird hermit who draws and loves his dogs and mom. And those are his words. He is also an artist who uses pop culture and cartoons as his inspiration, Rick and Morty being probably one of his biggest influences.
“Justin Roiland, the guy that created Rick and Morty, or co-created, has actually got one of the T-shirts,” Morris said. “I am super shameless; I go to a lot of conventions and meet-and-greet type stuff just to network.”
Since Morris makes some money off Roiland’s creative property, he figures he should share his art with him. “He also has my Trump nuts and other stickers that I made.”
Trump nuts? Yeah, it is exactly what it sounds like.
“They are aggressive no matter if you say it or show it,” Morris said of his extremely explicit homage to President Donald Trump that we could not include a photo of in this article. “It is not really like a political type thing; it is just funny,” he said.
Which is a good way to explain the premise of most of his art; most of it is pretty clever and funny.
“I am like a giant child,” Morris said. “All cartoons are great. Obviously, Rick and Morty is like really big right now…Literally, you can just be laughing your ass off about a stupid fart cloud that sings about your name and then the next thing you know, they are hitting you in the feels with the Unity episode, where it is just like Rick is literally worse than a hive mind because he is so fucking toxic.”
Morris describes himself as being transparent, realistic and having no filter.
“The world that I live in is nuts,” he said. “I am just having fun at this point, if it is going to burn, let it burn. Worry about number one…literally my mom and my dogs, that is it- other than that and myself, I do not care.”
However, it’s apparent that he has soft side especially when it comes to talking about his sick mom (who he takes care of and lives with now) and his recently deceased best friend (and pitbull) Dakota. Dakota, Morris’s “baby boy” unfortunately, passed away this past weekend. “I don’t know how people lose people,” Morris wrote in a Facebook message. “I’m completely broke and lost. He died in my arms, in our bed. I lifted him out and wrapped him in his blankets and the one I was brought home from the hospital as a baby.”
But, Dakota lives on through Morris’s art. His one piece dedicated to Dakota is a drawing of his face and colored green and pink. Morris posted this picture on Instagram a while back with the caption, “My heart and soul. No matter how hard I fall, how many times, he never gives up on me.”
Morris said he likes to escape reality sometimes and that actually helps with his creative process. He likes to play video games, specifically virtual reality video games at Shift on Spring Garden. He said it is a good way to get out of his head for a bit.
“This is not a fun place always,” he said pointing at his noggin. “Everyone is just like ‘oh man, what inspires you?’ And I am just like ‘anxiety and depression,’ that will fucking do it.”
Morris said he enjoys the subtle adult messages that are laced in some animated shows. For instance, there is an episode in Rocko’s Modern Life, where he said Rocko worked at a phone sex line. The same can be said about Morris’s artwork; there are messages catered to adult humor but its masked in bold colors and childlike images.
Morris describes his art as stylistic, with bold lines and colors.
“You know, like Lichtenstein stuff where it is all half-toned and super vibrant colors, you know just like that,” he said. “Or really obnoxious colors schemes. The more gross, the better.”
Morris is a Greensboro/Summerfield native who attended school at Ragsdale, Weaver and Guilford Technical Community College– none of which, he said, he recommends.
“I could have utilized Weaver better, but like, everyone was just super bougie, and I am the one who is just obnoxious and came from not the best area,” he said. “And everyone was just like ‘oh it is that guy.’ I mean, it was alright I had a couple teachers I really liked, and I am sure it’s like an alright program now.”
Morris said he now lives in Glenwood and likes to spend his time there and downtown. “I just like city life better.”
Morris said he likes to travel as much as he can. Back in December, he went to see Lady Gaga (who he is a big fan of) and made sure she got one of his shirts and some business cards as well. The shirt he threw on stage for her is actually a newer design of his and one of his favorites. It is a black T-shirt with two white hands clasped together, and it was inspired by Patton Oswalt.
“That actually came from a Patton Oswalt special on Netflix,” he said. “He says some part about life and is basically like, ‘it’s chaos so be kind that is all you can do.’” Morris said he now has some enamel pins with that design available as well.
For the past two or three-ish years, he said he has been able to make some money off of his art. Morris said he now creates his art digitally on his Windows Surface Pro and sells merchandise such as stickers, prints, pins, and T-shirts on his Redbubble account. However, he said this venture might look profitable, but in reality, it is not as profitable as people think.
“That is what sucks about a lot of this shit,” he said. “It is pretty costly upfront, but everyone is like, ‘oh you sold 100 of these Rick and Morty T-shirts, you must be like really loaded at this point’ and I am just like ‘no, my bank account probably has under a grand in it right now, yeah it is not good.’ I mean, it is fun. I have a good amount of product still.”
Morris said he is only successful if he has support from the community. He stresses the importance of local support from the community through social media, sharing his art via stickers (i.e., his Trump nuts made an appearance on Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star because one of his friends stuck it on there while visiting) and through commissions. Morris said he has a sliding scale when it comes to commissions and that he does commissions for many people in the community young and old. One of his favorite commission pieces he did was for a friend who has a police officer in their friend group. The piece is a hand and two fingers in the shape of a circle covered in pink frosting and sprinkles, which makes it look like a doughnut.
“Just knowing it is for a cop makes it that much funnier,” he said. “I am sure there will be about half of the police that appreciates that and I know that half will be bitter, but it is fine.”
As far as social media goes, Morris said he hates it, but it’s necessary. He asks people who “like” his art on social media to share it to their page and tag him, so he gets credit.
Want to meet JoMo and see some of his art in-person? Morris will be at Westerwood Tavern this Sunday starting at 6 p.m. with some of his merchandise.
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.