Nick's Story

Sometimes nicknamed "The Color Man" because of his love of bright colors, Nick Morse has been on an unusual journey. He is said to be on the "autistic spectrum," a wide, cryptic world where some youths are silent in their early years, then speak later on. Or, in Nick's case, the other way around. He talked early by making bubbly pronouncements on everything from rock 'n' roll to movies, but went silent in his mid-20s. No one knows exactly what happened -- many specialists have been equally baffled -- but along the way he started expressing himself more and more in his painting. That is his gift and lucky for us he has been willing to share it. There is an innocence that best describes his art. He knows about vibrant colors, but doesn't know about politics, wars, racism or other indignities that slow the rest of us down. Nick's art is positive, indeed utopian.
 
Nick was born in Boston -- his dad, Steve, was a longtime pop music critic at the Boston Globe and his mother, Nell, a publicist and TV producer. Nick lived first in Cambridge, then Hingham, then Wellesley, Newton and back to Hingham. Then it was decided he needed extra care and he went at age 12 to live for 10 years at the Cardinal Cushing Center in Hanover, a non-denominational campus school.  Sadly, his mom, who had been ill, passed away the year he entered, but Nick persevered and his art talent was soon flagged by teacher Randy Wiskow, a key figure in Nick's development. You'll see some of Nick's Cardinal Cushing work on this website.
At age 22, when funding for special needs school placements ended in Massachusetts, Nick moved into a group home in Watertown run by the Beaverbrook Step Agency (they have cared for him well and he spends weekends with his dad). That was six years ago. He then started painting at his day program, Outside the Lines, in Medford. It's a fabulous, loft-size studio with helpful staffers such as Whitney Hoke and Wallis Welsh. It has been another life-saver for Nick.
 
Nick has since exhibited at Cafe ZuZu and Club Passim in Cambridge (he had a four-month run at Passim), Precinct in Somerville (now called Brass Union), the Artlifting.com gallery in South Boston, the Boston Public Market, The Tufts Medical Center (for the non-profit Music Cures), and annually each May at the Cambridge Open Studios. Nick has exhibited the last five years for them at the former Ice Cream Lofts at 93 Harvey Street, where his dad has sold his paintings as well as t-shirts and notebooks with Nick's designs on them.
A special mention goes to Artlifting.com, an important new website that helps the disabled to sell their art. They discovered Nick during their launch a couple of years ago and have championed him ever since. Check out their site, then click on the "Artists" link, then scroll down and you'll see Nick. They've also been selling Nick's art and various products featuring his designs. Nick has been fortunate to have a good team behind him with Outside the Lines and Artlifting.com.
 
Artlifting co-founders Liz and Spencer Powers with Nick at Outside the Lines.

Artlifting co-founders Liz and Spencer Powers with Nick at Outside the Lines.

Apart from art, Nick loves rock 'n' roll (he has seen everyone from U2 and Green Day to Pearl Jam, the Rolling Stones and Metallica), plus movies of all kinds. He doesn't like sports because he has trouble following the path of a ball, for instance, but he loves to go to the Museum of Fine Arts to check out Impressionists like Van Gogh and Monet. He doesn't stare long and hard at their work like some people do. He might just give a quick glance, but I believe he knows fellow color men when he sees them.
 
--Steve Morse, Nick's dad and longtime Boston Globe pop critic who now teaches for Berklee College of Music.