Tazewell' s World — As high as the Moon!
One of his more recent brochures states:
"Tazewell Morton's world is color, light, and shape. It blooms from his fingertips in joyous profusion. He draws, paints and sculpts what' s very real to him — outside and inside his head."
Tazewell’s murals on the walls of the Second Street building at Market Street is not all that he is. Then, too, the Pass Christian Flag on Billy Bourdin’s second story building is not but a touch of his talent. At the Chamber of Commerce office, some of the many ink sketches are still available with sales proceeds going to the Chamber. One of which is the “Gazebo,” having been reproduced so many times on letterheads, business cards and the like — and is the official logo for the City of Pass Christian.
Tazewell Sidney Morton III, who prefers to be known by his first name, has produced a broad spectrum of art that includes water color, oil, acrylic, pen and ink and sculpture in stoneware, wire and wood. His subject matter is just as broad as the media he uses. His love of the sea and its creatures is obvious, as are his interests in Southeastern Conference football, biblical themes, and food.
Tazewell is a complex and interesting person. He was born and reared in Gulfport where he served as an altar boy every Sunday of his youth. After graduating from Auburn University in 1957 with a B.A.A. degree in fine arts, he began his career as a staff artist with the Jackson Brewery in New Orleans. It was the first of several periods of residence in the Crescent City and was the beginning of his deep affection for the Big Easy.
Most of his early years were in graphic arts advertising. He worked in Birmingham, Baton Rouge, Atlanta and Boston and co-founded two successful design studios. The complexion of the advertising business began to change in the late 1960s, and Tazewell bade it farewell as he left for the world of academia in 1970. He taught graphic design at the University of Georgia for three years, leaving to become an associate professor of art at his almamater.
One of Tazewell' s most memorable experiences was designing an Auburn school flag, one of which was planted on the moon by his fellow alumnus, astronaut Ken Mattingly. During this period, he also executed a commission for a comemorative drawing of the Carter/Mondale campaign.
He left the scholastic life in the early 80s to return to his beloved New Orleans, where he served for a short period as Head of Graphic Design at the New Orleans Institute of Art. Rather a free spirit at heart, Tazewell became a free-lance commercial artist, gradually easing into the full-time production and marketing of the art he executes today. He has won many awards for his work and is represented in numerous private and corporate art collections.
Tazewell operated a three room gallery on Second Street for several years, but gave it up as too confining for his spitit. On display were a variety of mobiles crafted from silvery wire. The walls held many paintings while shelves displayed all manner of sculptures. The quantity and variety were riveting.
He views his art as a gateway to other people and cheerfully greeted visitors to his gallery, giving to them as much of his time as they desired. He also wanted to do murals throughout the town but was not a reality due to Historic Preservation Commission restrictions.
While browsing his studio, one could see many depictions of modernistic figures as well as critters, on wheels. This theme came from an award winning poster using the subject of wheels, which he did during his advertising days in Atlanta. Never forgetting his early childhood as an Altar-boy, his stoneware nativity figures were fired in the kiln of a friend near his Bell Creek Road studio, — or the alligator carved from wood, — or the half primitive water color of a Blessing of the Fleet, — or his pen and ink of the oak tree which grew in the yard of his family home and survived Camille — only to be bulldozed by cleanup crews following the storm.
Each of his works has special meaning to him, and he delights in sharing this meaning. One special painting, which was not for sale, depicted his joumey through life intertwined with his very unconventional gumbo recipe. He considers gumbo to be a culihary expression of his life, "rich with spice, and madness included."
Tazewell has made a deep and remembered imprint on Pass Christian!