Harry’s brand creative director by day, multi-disciplinary artist by night (and weekend and early morning and…)
“I’m doing what I’ve always loved to do, which is nothing specific,” says Garrett Morin with a laugh. He’s talking about his job as brand creative director at Harry’s, where his day-to-day varies tremendously, but he could just as easily be describing his personal artistic pursuits. Outside of work, on nights and weekends or whenever he can find a spare moment, he’s also an illustrator, comic artist, painter, and sculptor, as well as singer/guitarist for his rock band, Hints.
“You’re not going to catch me brunching and spending the weekend strolling around,” says Morin, sitting in a Harry’s meeting room one warm May afternoon. “For me, making art is wherever you can, in all spaces. It’s so pretentious to say, but I need to do it. It’s like people who run: You just have to.”
“For me, making art is wherever you can, in all spaces.”
This spring Morin launched Seldom, a new online store selling his wares: plaster figurines with an amusing backstory involving New Wave bass lines and a game of Wizard Sticks—“I don’t want to spoil it, it’s quite an epic”—comics in a muted pink-and-yellow color palette and T-shirts with simple line drawings that bring to mind Shel Silverstein. Though Morin is constantly creating, the name Seldom is his way of being “very self-effacing about the fact that this stuff probably wouldn’t come out too often,” he admits. “It’s like, I’m going to do my best here, but I’ve never thought it would be on schedule.”
Morin started out drawing comics and cartoons as a kid growing up in the “armpit of Massachusetts” and credits his grandfather—a hobbyist who made model wooden ships from scratch—with inspiring his need to create. At the time, though, he just thought of it as entertainment. “You don’t realize it’s art at that point,” he says.
“I didn’t want to learn how to render a cereal bowl perfectly. I kind of wanted to think about it for myself.”
He has always been careful to keep his work more fluid, more fun. Thinking about it as art with a capital A is a sure-fire way to lose the magic—something he learned during a brief stint studying illustration after high school. “You don’t need to be virtuosic to be a good illustrator,” Morin says. “I didn’t want to learn how to render a cereal bowl perfectly. I kind of wanted to think about it for myself.” What he likes about his myriad artistic pursuits is the freedom. “I find I’m best when I’m kind of loose,” he says.
His approach to his work at Harry’s is the total opposite. “Here, I’m a super-perfectionist and I whittle at things for too long because there is a refined nature to branding and packaging design, whereas with drawing and a lot of the work I make as art, it’s the opposite of that. Obviously I work really hard at my craft and making it feel finished, but ‘finished’ is relative to what I’m trying to accomplish.”
Sometimes escapism is Morin’s only end goal for a personal art project. The making process, whether he’s drawing characters or shaping plaster figurines, tempers his anxieties, and the “world building”—which he particularly loves— helps him make sense of what’s happening in the, well, real world. “A lot of people go through this phase where, as you get older, you think about the things you’ve done as childish or silly,” he says. “But the older I get, the more I respect things like cartoons and comics and realize how long they’ve been here and how universal that language is.”
Though he admits there are “definitely some drawbacks to having a lack of specificity,” for now, he likes his jack-of-all-trades approach to art. It wards off boredom—that’s for sure—but more importantly, it keeps him from growing dispassionate. “I think the path to discovery for me is longer because of that, but I’m cool with it,” he says. “I’m not in a hurry.”