Quincy Morgan (C’23) gives a glimpse into her life and background as an artist through her playlist. Originally from New York, Quincy spent much of her childhood in the south of France, explaining in part her attachment to the Brooks remix of “American Boy” by Estelle and Kanye West. “I’m a huge fan of the original, but around 2007, I was growing up in the south of France and I think it was around then when the song kind of hit peak popularity out there. You couldn’t walk into a single restaurant, cafe, or store without hearing it at least once. It reminds me of those days and the memories I have from there in general. Having been raised out of the country so much, I’m also just a very proud American because I was the only American girl of my friend group in my youth. It’s just one of those songs that put me in a good mood.”
As Quincy explains her connection to a few of her favorite songs, her descriptions indicate the way art permeates her perception of the world around her. “There’s a Four Tet song on my playlist called 'Baby' that has the most incredible music video ever — it’s all drone footage. It’s beautifully shot and it’s supposed to feel like you’re flying over certain cities and important landmarks. Everything he does is very artistic. He had plans to work with this lighting artist named Squidsoup all through 2020, which got cancelled because of coronavirus, but the premise was to put up these hanging lights while Four Tet would DJ and the entire crowd would be inside the lightshow. I think that he’s a very interesting musician and he’s very relaxing to listen to as well, so I put on a lot of his music when I’m painting or working just to kind of have background noise but nothing too distracting.”
Many of Quincy’s works focus on the people in her life — as someone who clearly enjoys the fast–paced aspects of the creative process, she finds it more interesting to imbue personality and life into pieces featuring those who are important to her. “Choosing what to paint can be kind of difficult, which is why I paint my friends a lot. Painting about people you care about makes it so much easier to keep going as opposed to painting a landscape or cityscape or anything like that.“
Quincy enjoys the intimate feeling of painting her friends, a different experience than completing commissioned portraits, which are not as personal and can become time–consuming. While she appreciates the exposure, meeting deadlines for school and for commissions at times overwhelm her. Still, Quincy takes on multiple commissions during the semester while making sure she's not juggling more work than she can handle. Echoed by her inclusion of "American Oxygen" by X Ambassadors, Quincy's work ethic in conversation with the song reflect her respect for hard work while also representing a uniquely American perspective, another nod to her national pride.
Balancing classes and other commitments at Penn as a Philosophy, Politics, and, Economics major, Quincy identifies selling art as one of the more difficult aspects of painting. “I’ve been really lucky and have worked with this gallery Art Apple that has an amazing team and really wants to foster young artists in New York. It’s an equitable platform and it doesn’t take too aggressive of a commission because they understand we’re all young. I liked working with that team a lot, but when you’re a full–time student, it becomes really complicated to stay on top of things like commissions.” Commissions make Quincy money, but painting people she truly cares about is much more fulfilling.
With true preference for the more creative and exciting aspects of art, Quincy employs a more risky technique when it comes to mapping out her works–in–progress. “I don't sketch in pencil, mostly because I hate getting graphite from pencil dust on my hands and all over the canvas, because then it grays down all of the colors when it mixes with the paint. I prefer the colors to be really bright and pure, which is also why I work in oil paints, because those pigments tend to be darker and more electric than acrylics. Sketching in paint doesn’t allow for very much error because it dries and then you can’t erase, but the nice thing about that is that if you make a mistake, you can see if it’s the right proportion and even if you have to redo it, the line is still there so you know you’re not making the same mistake like you might if you used pencil and erased it. I don’t mind the fact that I can't go back and erase it.” Quincy's tendency to dive into the painting process reflects the theme of another one of her playlist picks, "Beat Goes On" by Madonna, with the opening lines encouraging action over unnecessary reservation: "don't sit there like some silly girl / If you wait too long, it'll be too late."
Although Quincy does not want to pursue painting full–time after graduation, she notes that there are many ways her love of art will follow her throughout her life in different sectors. “There’s always a way, especially as a painter, to apply creativity to a more typical career. The thought of stretching your brain and looking at a blank canvas and not being scared to put some paint down is a huge first step that a lot of people have to push past: you don’t want to fuck up the perfect little white canvas but you have to realize that’s a necessary first step. You can really apply that to anything — getting started is so difficult.”
As someone who thinks about the world with an artistic lens, Quincy’s perspective shines through in her playlist, demonstrating a mix of childhood nostalgic favorites and more modern energetic electronic music. As an artist, her work portraying the people in her life seems to lend itself to a similar indication of potential future nostalgia, each canvas a personal moment and memory suspended in time.