It was just a couple of years ago that Roz Morris began reacclimating herself within her hometown of Savannah.
The New York City-cultivated artist had spent the previous more-than-a-dozen years in the big city before relocating and settling into her design studio, located in the heart of Savannah’s Downtown Design District.
She uses the space as a creative hub dedicated to marrying the influences of both Savannah and New York, and with the intention of creating a pipeline of artwork between the two uniquely fascinating cities.
Morris obtained her AAS at Parson’s School of Design in New York after receiving her Fine Arts Degree from what is now SCAD Atlanta, and she continues to put her eclectic, artistic style to use. She also has a master of science in acupuncture from Tri-State College. And she also worked as a costume designer and wardrobe stylist for years in film, tv and music videos
Let’s start with the basics. How do you describe yourself?
Creative, entrepreneurial, irreverent. One of my friends once said to me, ‘Artists are the makers of wonderment.’ I know that’s really silly, but I think it’s kind of true. That’s how I would describe myself because I try to create things that are interesting and bewitching and that kind of thing.
When did you first realize you were an artist?
I’ve always been an artist ever since I was a kid, and my dad used to ask me, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ And I would go ‘I want to be an artist!’ and he would say, ‘ Hmm, well that’s kind of tough to make money,’ and then I would say, ‘Well, I’m going to be a millionaire artist!’
What influences inspired your career path?
My mother’s side of my family. They had fashion and manufacturing [career paths] so a lot of my inspiration was from them. My grandfather was an inventor, too, and he invented the place where you cut the thread on home sewing machines. He was also a big manufacturer, and my grandmother was a designer and she became really known, especially for children’s wear. And my mom was a fashion buyer for a department store, so I grew up seeing them put together all that kind of stuff.
I know you are an entrepreneur, and that is not an easy road to travel. Tell me about a tough time that you have had to overcome along your journey.
My whole career… kidding. I had a clothing line for a long time called StoneMorris, and I won this Belk award in like 2012 or so, and I was distributed in all of these Belk stores. It was a wonderful experience. My star was really rising with that and simultaneously my art career was rising. I was having multiple visual arts shows in New York and I was also doing a clothing line and then I decided on top of that, ‘Let’s go to Parsons and get a fashion degree, too, so you know what you’re talking about.’
Truth is, I was exhausted, I was burning myself at both ends. I had a solo show that was a flop in New York. And I had a rough time with my clothing line at that point, so that was really hard and it took me a few years to get back on my feet. I was getting all of this press, and I was really thinking that I was going somewhere and all of a sudden it was like BAM, nothing.
It appears that things have turned around for you now with StoneLords. How did you get to this point in your career?
How this came about was, I was still in New York, and my acquaintance, Abbie Hastings, wanted to host pop ups, so we started to do pop-ups here. They went really well, so I decided maybe I could find a brick-and-mortar. After a long search, this space came up. I got it right before the pandemic hit, thinking I would be back and forth, and I would bring a pipeline of New York artists down here while also doing pop ups in New York as well.
The reason why I started doing this was because as an artist and a designer it could be hard to have solid venues for your work.
You are always trying to get into stores and such, so I just wanted to have a design studio and a collaborative space to sell other people’s work, along with my own, while also using the space for artistic events of all kinds.
Is there anything exciting that you’d like to share before the close of this interview?
On the last Saturday of January 2022, we’re doing a fashion show with local designers, and some stores that are showcasing their stuff at the Trustees Garden Kehoe building. I’m really excited because I’m working on this collection that is in honor of and inspired by southern women throughout the ages. I’m creating this really fun avant-garde collection for the show. I’m really looking forward to that.