<b>FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS | </b>By Katie Murdoch Herald writer
MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — As a student at Evergreen Elementary School in the Edmonds School District, Andrew Morrison frequently doodled on his desk when paper wasn’t handy.
The day Morrison looked up to see his teacher, Bob Whittemore, hovering over the artwork, the young artist thought he was in trouble.
Unbeknownst to Morrison, Whittemore was a professional illustrator.
“From then on he took a liking to me in a teacher-student way,” Morrison, now 31, said.
The pair have stayed in contact during the past two decades, which Morrison has spent pursuing his talent.
These days, Morrison’s canvas is larger than an elementary school-sized desk.
His work is featured in galleries and his murals cover Mountlake Terrace Elementary and his parents’ garage. “I want to use my talent to be a productive member of the community,” Morrison said.
A big part of the art world is having self-confidence and not letting doubt creep in, Morrison said. It also helps having support, including from his parents.
“They could see it was a positive outlet,” Morrison said.
That’s not to say the road has always been smooth.
Some of the challenges of the art world are finding a market to get his work and message out while staying optimistic, Morrison said.
“I have to trust my instincts and trust myself that I’m doing the right thing whether people are cheering for me or not,” he said.
Morrison moved to Nevada last summer to pursue graduate school and continue his art studies, adding to his degree from the School of the Museum of the Fine Arts in Boston. The decision to try to break into the Southwestern art scene has been a decade in the making, waiting until the time was right.
“There’s a big art scene down here for my genre,” he said during a phone interview. “This is a neck of the woods that hasn’t been truly explored.”
Despite the move, his hometown remains his permanent residence and a place of comfort.
“Mountlake Terrace is always going to be my home to me no matter where I’m at,” Morrison said.
Learn more about Andrew Morrison and his work at http://onestaa.com.