Featured Artists: The Murri Family
"With my dad being an artist, I have been motivated to continue my natural interest in drawing and painting and to get better at making art. It just seems to be an innate part of who I am. " -Abraham Murri
We have been working with Daniel Murri as an artist in our gallery for a couple of years, we were pleasantly surprised when he asked if his son, Abraham, could also be included in our Nativity Art show last fall. We were even more pleased when Abraham, then 14, brought his piece to us. Abraham's was the first piece sold of our annual Nativity Art Show in 2017. We are so pleased to feature Dan Murri, his son Abraham, and his daughter Isabelle as artists for the month of June, as a celebration of Father's Day. This family of incredible artists are inspired by the time that they spend in nature together. Dan has cultivated in their children a love of art and nature. Each of them have a different take on the things they see in nature.
Q&A with Daniel and Abraham Murri
Do you have a process for creating ideas or getting into a creative mindset?
Daniel: I split time between landscape, still life, and narrative figure painting and it seems that paying attention to feelings I have as I experience life, is what largely motivates me to create within these various subject matter. I think it is a desire to capture, preserve, and share those feelings in the way mind interprets them, that provides for the creative mindset. I often go through this process while exploring new locations and trying to pay careful attention to the feeling and mood of a place, which is what comprises the majority of the paintings for the upcoming show. It is largely representative of a love of outdoors and the time my family and I spend in nature exploring and often painting.
I have always been interested in wildlife, specifically ornithology. I love visiting the zoo and the aviary and the aquarium and sketching the animals there. I also love when I'm able to see wildlife in their natural habitat while hiking or camping. That always makes me excited to draw them.
What brought you to painting?
Daniel: Growing up, I was the youngest child by a large age margin and enviously watched talented brother and sisters who were constantly creating, drawing and painting. Other extended family members were also involved in the arts. I was strongly encouraged to take music and art classes by my mother, who I think sought to provide a counterpoint to the heavy sports interests my father shared with us as children. As my interest developed, I sought additional education from workshops, Brigham Young University, and as an apprentice in various artist's studios. I also spent time at the Florence Academy of Art, in Italy, which profoundly changed the ways I saw art and art education.
I've always loved doing art--ever since I could hold a pencil or a crayon. With my dad being an artist, I have been motivated to continue my natural interest in drawing and painting and to get better and making art. It just seems to be an innate part of who I am.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to become the painter you are?
Daniel: It is difficult to ever call a painting finished. It seems that often a painting is persistently tugging at me to spend more time with it exploring options and alterations. Additionally, one of my greatest challenges is constantly seeking of the proper balance between time at the studio working with mainly 2-d creations (painting and drawing) and time at the house working with mainly 3-d creations (children and wife).
Abraham: It is really hard to find enough time to create art as much as I would like. With homework, school and other activities, I am often super busy. Sometimes I have to just improvise and draw on assignments during the school day!
What do you believe the role of art is in the home?
Daniel: I believe art can serve many different purposes in the home. It can provide inspiration as it sets a mood or tone for a home. It can be a tool of instruction, remembrance, and reflection. It can honor a person, place, or event. If chosen wisely, it can serve in these ways and be more than just a decoration.
Abraham: I think it can both create memories and bring them back. A piece may remind you of something you did as a family when you see it, or be the thing you remember about and experience. Art can evoke feelings of love and peace in the home.
What paintings have been the most personally moving to you?
Daniel: There are so many paintings that are in my list of favorites, but many are from some know and other lesser known academic artists of the 19th century including: Bouguereau, Bloch, Gerome, Ciseri, Ouderaa, Stanhope Forbes, Lhermitte, Bastien-Lepage, Monsted, Inness, and Gifford. These artists, as well a many others throughout the history of art had the ability to combine an exceptional skill based technique with an emotive and interpretive aesthetic. That combination to me is the highest achievement in art, due to the fact that it appeals to the most senses possible within the human experience.
Abraham: I love the paintings and characters created by Norman Rockwell. I also love paintings by wildlife artists such as Robert Bateman, Carl Brenders, and John Muir Laws. I also really love the painting "Recognition" by Constance Mayer, that shows the effect of the Civil War on two brothers (one from the Union and one from the Confederate army).
What paintings do you remember from your family home?
Daniel: In my home were several works painted by my aunt. One particular painting I enjoyed was of a favorite subject of hers and my mother's, which was the Teton Mountain range on the Idaho/Wyoming border. My mother grew up at the foot of those majestic peaks and had instilled in me a love for the mountains from an early age and seeing that painting daily continued to foster that appreciation for the outdoors.
Abraham: I have always been around my Dad's work since I was little and we have a large collection of art books that have created great experiences and memories for me, because we are often looking and talking about them.
What paintings do you have currently in your home?
Daniel: We are currently making plans to install a favorite painting of mine, which depicts the risen Lord appearing to Mary at the tomb and was painted by a good friend and incredible artist, Joseph Brickey.
Abraham: We mostly have paintings that our family has done. My brothers and sisters and I do art often which gets put up around our house. I have lots of examples of wildlife drawings and paintings in my room, which I enjoy.
Isabelle Murri, is also a talented stationer and artist and will be featured alongside her father and brother in our store. Check out the Murri family collection here.