Artist Tallulah Morton may just be one of the most creatively multifaceted models Chic Management has ever had. The leggy Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar model sat down to talk about her experiences with bullying in the industry, her creative inspiration, musical endeavours, and her newly developed ambitions as a fashion designer. With a pedigree like hers, it seems there’s very little that Tallulah Morton can’t do.
The Chic Edit: Much of your art has a humorous, impish-like quality: From whom/what do you find this inspiration for your pieces?
Tallulah Morton: My imagination is my inspiration! I have a very active imagination. I see faces and figures in pretty much everything I look at. It is quite devilish and sinister, yet in a playful and sometimes childlike manner. It almost never gets turned off. When I do paint, it just comes to my head. When I put a blank canvas in front of me, I have absolutely no idea what is going to become of it. It takes me a few months to a year and sometimes even longer to completely finish a canvas and then still it is hard for me to know when to stop.
I also surround myself with a lot of different styles of art. At home and when I am traveling around the world, I tend to go to every art gallery and museum I can, so subconsciously the colours and techniques may make their way to my canvas.
CE: You’ve posted a few famous rock stars on your Instagram: Slash, Alice Cooper, Axl Rose, etc. Do you play any instruments yourself?
TM: I love music and I adore singing, playing bass guitar, and sometimes the drums. I just found a grand piano at home so I would love to learn how to play that as well. Some friends and I started a band recently. I was on bass. The music was quite psychedelic but heavy and slow. It was just starting to sound really good and come together, but unfortunately the lead singer and studio owner passed away last week. So now I will just focus on piano and singing for a while.
CE: Painting isn’t that far removed from some aspects of fashion design. Have you ever thought of trying your hand in a different medium?
TM: My fiancé and I are just at the beginning stages of putting a clothing label together, although it will be very different to my art. In fact, quite the opposite: very simple and elegant. I’m excited to step out of my comfort zone and create with somebody else!
CE: What emotion do you find inspires the greatest art? Love, happiness, sadness, anger, etc.?
TM: I believe sadness and anger produce the greatest art, although when I paint I am extremely happy and in peace. It is very theraputic for me.
My partner, Hamish Walsh, is a wonderful writer and he says, “sadness, anger, and experiential loss, like grief and pain, we compensate with or are answered by imaginative gain,” which I believe 100 percent.
CE: What is your favourite environment in which to create?
TM: Outside, in my backyard! The view, the fresh air, the sea breeze, the sun: I should actually be painting landscapes with the view from my home.
CE: You can’t exactly bring a painting easel on a plane: how do you maintain your creativity while travelling the globe?
TM: Well, I have a drawing book I take with me everywhere where I write my stories and draw my characters. Recently I have been doing little comics!
CE: Is there any truth to the angst-ridden, starving artist stereotype?
TM: Definitely! the whole thing about “the starving artist” is the decline in capitalism: it says, “No, I will not join your group, I will go through life my own way, my individual way, the fun way!” It’s the anti-going to work 9-5 to buy things I don’t need.
A lot of people live beyond their means because the media makes them think they need the new technology, the new car, the latest fashion, and they are actually in debt for the rest of their lives, trapped by the banks! “The starving artist” lives a life of freedom, not trapped by banks and stuck in society’s cage. They don’t want that stress. Instead of stressing, they can use that energy to create and try to make the world a more beautiful place.
CE: You started modeling at such an early age: do you think this helped you to develop a thicker skin? How have you noticed the industry affect your newer modeling peers?
TM: Yes, I believe it has helped me develop a thicker skin. As I get older I realise it’s not all about beauty; character is a big part of it as well and I am very lucky to have both.
With the new girls, it’s a weird one at the moment because of social media. Average girls are getting signed to agencies because they have a lot of followers. I think this is ridiculous. There are so many tall, beautiful girls with great personalities out there and they are being ignored because they’re not posting selfies, what they had for breakfast, and photos of their butts!
I do hope and think this is just a fad and that unique, beautiful girls with long legs will run the modelling scene again!
CE: In a previous interview you mentioned you were bullied for your modeling success: has that response changed now that you’re older?
TM: Absolutely not! You would think it was just teenage girls and it would calm down as you got older but that is not the case. Now, you just have older people doing it as well. But I do not have time to listen to negativity. If someone has something negative to say about me, it is just their own projections and insecurities. I know I’m a good person. In some weird way now if someone speaks negatively of me it makes me feel stronger or above them because that behaviour is so beneath me.
CE: Thus far you’ve modeled for some of the biggest photographers and magazines possible: Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Patrick Demarchelier, Steven Meisel. Where would you like to see your career–creatively and professionally–take you next?
TM: Wow, there are so many things I would like to do and I believe they are all possible, which makes me really happy!
With modeling there are still a lot of brands, photographers, and magazines that I would love to work with! With my body and my character I hope to still be modeling in my 40’s, like Elle Macpherson or Megan Gale!
At the moment I’m working towards a solo exhibition, hopefully by the end of the year. I haven’t found a gallery but the art is coming along quite nicely! My partner and I are in the early stages of our fashion label, so, maybe next year that will be up and running. I have been writing a few songs so I hope to record those soon and I would love to get into acting a bit more. I don’t like to have any expectations or time limits. I like to go with the flow do what feels right at the time.
Head: Brydie Mack
Body: Hannah McDougall
Follow Tallulah Morton on Instagram.