With a signature style featuring vivid colors and icons of pop culture, the artwork of Pittsburgh native Burton Morris is recognized by audiences around the world.
Born in 1964 and raised in Churchill, Mr. Morris spent hours sketching superheroes from comic strips and magazines during his early years.
After earning degrees in illustration and graphic design from Carnegie Mellon University in 1986, he began his career as an advertising agency art director before opening his own business.
Inspired by the work of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann, Mr. Morris' art featured larger-than-life versions of everyday objects such as coffee cups or popcorn in bold colors.
His breakout year as a pop artist came in 1993 when the Absolut Vodka chose his artwork from more than 800 contest submissions to represent Pennsylvania as part of the "Absolut Statehood" campaign.
Around the same time, his work began to appear on the hit NBC television show "Friends" when actor David Schwimmer (who played Ross) wore a T-shirt featuring one of Mr. Morris' designs. When the artist saw the shirt on TV, he contacted the producer and soon after, his paintings were commonly featured on "Friends" and became synonymous with the show's popular hangout, the Central Perk coffee shop.
The exposure catapulted Morris' career, and he began to work with brands such as AT&T, Perrier, Kellogg's and the H.J. Heinz Co. on campaigns to promote their products.
In 2004, Mr. Morris created art for the 76th Academy Awards, the Summer Olympic Games and the 38th Montreux Jazz Festival.
While he is internationally known, many of Mr. Morris' paintings have a Pittsburgh connection. When his hometown hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2006, Mr. Morris was commissioned to design the game's logo and graphics.
Mr. Morris, whose upbeat art has helped to raise millions of dollars for charities worldwide, donated numerous pieces to Children's Hospital for its new Lawrenceville facility in 2009. He also produced a 66-piece limited edition series to benefit the Lemieux Foundation.
Visitors to the Heinz History Center can see more than 100 works of art as part of the new "Poptastic! The Art of Burton Morris" exhibition, the first retrospective of his career as a pop artist. For more information visit www.heinzhistorycenter.org.