PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Kids everywhere have already missed out on spring sports and so many other supervised activities, and now summer is up in the air too.
Parents may be sweating at the thought of their kids having so much unstructured time. But a well-known Pittsburgher says being forced to endure his own childhood “quarantine” of sorts made all the difference in the world.
It was 1967, and a little boy in Churchill was not happy. He had been playing on the monkey bars at his aunt’s home in Squirrel Hill when he fell and broke his femur. He had to spend months in an old-fashioned body cast — from the chest down.
“I couldn’t move anything but my arms,” he says. “From that moment, I would just draw all the time. And I’ve been able to make a career because of that incident.”
It’s fair to say things have worked out pretty well for Burton Morris.
He’s established himself as one of the world’s premier pop artists. His many fans here in Pittsburgh know his story: Creating high-profile corporate artwork; being chosen to create images for the Academy Awards and the world’s biggest sporting events, including the World Cup and the Olympics; and having his work adorn the set of “Friends.”
And Morris says it might never have happened if it weren’t for that broken femur, and all those childhood days spent lying around the house.
It makes one wonder, what type of genius might the current quarantine be nurturing?
“I’m sure kids everywhere around the world are having their futures reshaped because of all this going on,” says Morris.
Burton and his wife Sara are raising three girls of their own, ages 10, 6 and 3, at their home in Los Angeles.
“We draw every day. We paint. I try to keep them stimulated with art projects,” Morris says, and he encourages other parents to do the same with their kids.
“I don’t care if they draw stick figures, whatever it is they want to do,” he says.
“Just encourage them, believe in them, let them follow their ideas, and try to guide them as they get older.”