Art Exhibition featuring Fr. Joseph Morris & Billy Roper
There will be a reception on Friday, Oct 9 featuring Fr Joseph Morris from 5 – 7p
Fr. Joseph Morris
Joseph grew up in NE Florida, received a BA is English from UNF, then an Mdiv from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1996 in Atlanta, served throughout the Archdiocese, and is currently the director of the Catholic Student Center at KSU. He studied drawing independently since high school, but didn’t paint his first oil portrait until 2013.
Billy Roper was born and raised in the North Georgia mountains. He was into his 40s before he ever sold his first painting, and at that time, he painted on anything he could find.
Today, he paints primarily on wood, canvas, and paper using rich bold and vibrant colors. Many of his works feature the culture of his Appalachian roots and his Cherokee Indian ancestors. In addition to incorporating his heritage in his work, music also plays a valuable part, both in the subject of the musical instruments and in the lyrical nature of his stories.
On most, he writes the story on the back of the painting. Thus, Billy Roper has become known as the “visual storyteller.” Also, Billy’s passion also extends to his carvings, using both wood and Georgia marble as his mediums. Billy is known to make his own carving tools if he doesn’t have what he needs on hand.
To learn more about Billy Roper and the emotions behind his work, read one of the two books written about him. Around Back at Rocky’s Place carries both books, “Billy Roper: Visual Storyteller” by North Georgia College and State University and “In My Dreams, I Ride Wild Horses: Biographical Sketches, Art, and Poetry of Appalachian Artist Billy Roper” by Jean Curran.
Excerpt from Pickens County Progress interview with Billy Roper, Folk Artist: Billy: The art work I do is the truth, I don’t have to dream it up, I lived it and still am living it. I just got better shoes now. Ha Ha. You want to cut marble try you a few tours in a rock quarry with the water spraying on you and your clothes freezing. Then just as hot in the summer. Work on them old houses where your hands get so cold they won’t work no more. Folk art is from life’s classroom. Ain’t no school for it.
Christie Poole: A signature part of your work is the painting itself on the front along with handwriting on the back which tells the painting’s story in a sense. How did you come to use this as part of your signature? Billy: Well any blank space around me is in danger. Ha Ha. Sometimes the writing is about the painting, sometimes not at all. It usually describes more the feelings involved. In a lot of cases I use the writing to help people see what they see. Not so much what I see. They take my ideas and apply it to their lives. That happens a lot. I have had a lot of hurt in my life, most people have. The paintings and writing are used for all kinds of reason with people. It has happened many times that people will give the painting to somebody that is having the same problems the painting addresses.