Charles Morgenstern translates from applied math to whimsical paintings 

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In 2016, Colorado School of Mines graduate Dr. Charles Morgenstern stepped away from a career in applied mathematics to pursue a new career in which he had no formal training. He now works full-time as an artist.

“My wife got a good career out of graduate school, and I had the opportunity to take a risk,” he explains. Morgenstern, 30, grew up in the Springs and calls himself a lifelong amateur artist, so this tangent isn’t without precedent. Currently, he resides in Los Alamos, New Mexico, but he plans to move back to the Springs in mid-2019.

He’s differentiated himself from other artists with clean lines and vibrant colors, integrating influences from graffiti and cartoons. In particular, he cites series like The Misadventures of Flapjack, SpongeBob SquarePants and The Ren & Stimpy Show. For his art, it’s a mix of cartoonish figures and more natural scenes. As far as message or intent go, he’s trying to create something from which people can derive joy. More generally, he makes the kind of art that made him want to make art.

“A lot of it is just pure aesthetics,” he says. “It’s not too provocative or rough. It’s fun art.”
Mostly, he works in acrylics, but he adds stencil and spatter details with spray paint. To get the clean, sharp lines that make his works, including stylized landscape and animal portraits, pop, he thins his paints down, but mostly, it’s the product of a steady hand and lots of practice.

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Morgenstern prefers to work small and turn out his pieces quickly; he likes having a great volume of art out in the world. His relatively quick turnaround and small canvas size also keep prices down — when we speak, his most expensive piece runs $70. In the future, he hopes to transform his art into printing and smaller merchandise, spreading it to a wider audience and making it yet more affordable.

That lines up with what he’s already doing; instead of business cards, he hands out vinyl stickers with his works printed on them. They include a link to his 
website, tetramodal.com, where people can buy his paintings.


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