Meet The Others: Greg Harris
The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.
Greg Harris draws the viewer’s attention to his portraits and figure paintings with his alternative colour shades and impressive impasto technique.
How would you describe your artwork?
Typically, I’d describe it as visually striking oil paintings with a heavily textured surface and unconventional but cohesive palette, mostly depicting closeup faces with the occasional landscape thrown in. However, I’ve recently gotten into watercolours, which has sparked an interesting dialogue between the two mediums. In fact, I feel there’s been a significant shift with the content of my work toward a new direction and goal. For the past couple of years, I’ve been sitting on some ideas that I’ve just begun to explore. To date, I feel my work has been technically strong, though a little pedestrian content-wise. The rapidity with which I can create a watercolour has given me the confidence to finally knuckle down and express these concepts I’ve had for a long time. I believe 2017 is going to be a very exciting year for my work.
What does making art mean to you?
Everything, now. Professionally, it started off with a very prosaic decision to do it but it has now become a life’s obsession. In hindsight, the art has always been there since a very young age, before I can remember! Once I completely committed to this path, a clarity of life purpose became apparent. I wouldn’t say I’m poor at other subjects, but I certainly believe I’ve always excelled at art. When I’m painting, I’m present. I have no thoughts of the world except for the execution of the work. It doesn’t feel like escapism, though. I feel I am truly engaging with the moment. I see how ludicrous and useless art is but there’s an importance there that can’t be rationalized. It’s not a duality though, it just is. Put simply, I enjoy it!
How did you get started making art?
Throughout education and growing up, I’ve always been interested in visual creation. I took it all the way to University, but found the academic teaching took the wind out of my sails and barely made anything for two years after I graduated. Somehow, I got into working for Local Government—I had a good crack at it—but looking at the years of my life stretching out before me, I thought, ‘bugger forcing myself to do this for the rest of my life’. So, I turned to the one thing I had always been good at: art. Luckily, my colleague’s husband happened to be an international artist, and I joined his studio roughly 4 years ago. He was a generous and gifted mentor, and he taught me all about being a sole trader in the art world. I’m forever indebted to him and the “atelier” style I received.
What is it like to be a part of The Other Art Fair?
It’s a great privilege to be part of The Other Art Fair. TOAF gave me a chance when they came to Bristol in 2015, and my business has expanded ever since. I’ve shown with the fair five times now – in Bristol and London. I’ve made some amazing friends in the art world—from artists to editors—and I love chatting to the visitors. The fair gives me a platform to be heard and seen by the right people. However, it is hard work, so there are some elements to be aware of. The hours are long. There can be frustratingly quiet periods. Doubt can niggle at you, but you have to rise above it. Oddly enough, it can be tiring on your body and mind. After each day, I tend to be very quiet for the rest of the evening as I’m all talked out! For any emerging artists considering it, I’d definitely recommend The Other Art Fair.
What is your favourite piece for sale on your SA profile and why?
My favourite piece for sale on Saatchi Art is Arm Study I. I enjoy paintings that are a little offbeat. I did a tiny painting of my ear once – I really loved the colour scheme in it! I entertained the thought of how it would look so strange framed up and on someone’s wall. Actually, the person who bought the piece has hung it up in the hallway that leads to their kitchen – brilliant!
I feel the arm painting has a similar, isolated feel. It was part pleasure to paint the flesh, but also part tribute to the great Euan Uglow. He was obsessed with getting his models to pose at awkward angles so that they reached his compositional pinpoints. And, with some difficulty, I did the same. The vertical midpoint is very apparent, but the horizontal midline runs right through the armpit, the elbow pit, inside wrist, and knuckles.
Plus, I have a deliciously tasteful, purple frame around the painting at the moment!
Find out more about The Other Art Fair and apply to take part in one of our upcoming fairs.