50 by Murphy

50 by Murphy: A Retrospective of Illustration & Fine Art

Exhibition: August 22 – September 23
Gallery Reception: September 9, 2016; 5:00pm-7:00pm


Dennis Murphy


I was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan. My first exposure to art was in the back room of a wallpaper store where they had a display of fine art posters: I found Dali’s Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubicus) and was completely mesmerized. It made me want to create. My brother Mike and I would sit on our front porch and have drawing wars: He would sketch a boat and I would make a submarine to sink it. This went on for years and drawing on the blank side of restaurant placemats has become a family tradition.

At our library I discovered all the great illustrators of the day, N.C. Wyeth, Maxfied Parrish, Marshall Arisman, Milton Glaser and with them the power of image. When I went away to college at the University of Missouri, I not only studied painting, design and drawing but also made art for many underground newspapers that were so prevalent in the late sixties.

After completing my BFA I set up a freelance studio making fine art and illustration. Clients included The Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri Medical Review, MacMillian Books, Beacon Press, and more. I continued expanding my skill set by taking postgraduate courses, attending media specific workshops (silver point, color pencil, print making and paper casting) and by doing collaborative work with other artists.

In 2000 I was offered a position as an illustrator with University of Missouri Extension. This included design work, art direction, information graphics and illustration. During this time I wrote several grants and was funded (subjects included digital art making, photography, botanical art and scientific drawing). I also advocated for the arts, participating in local institutions such as First Night and Habitat For Humanity. I taught both children and adults for Columbia Public Schools and worked with Lee Expressive Arts School students to create their own art gallery. I was selected in 2013 for a month long artist residency at the Ondarte Center in Akumal, Mexico.

In 2015 I retired from the University of Missouri and began to concentrate on fine art series. These include a collection of portraits of cast off containers, wrappers and coverings as well as a group of maps that I painted or drew on. I continue to try new things, advocate for the arts and draw every day.


Gallery of Works:

Click on photo to enlarge
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