We had the good fortune of connecting with Harper and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Harper, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was raised in Los Angeles, however, I never felt a huge connection to the “Hollywood” culture. I had a great career as a child actress but none of this ever really interested me. Nor did going out with friends. A social life only gave me a tremendous amount of anxiety. I just wanted to spend my time drawing and painting. I started by replicating every sketch of Brian Froud’s and when I had mastered his world I moved on to Egon Schiele and I honestly never really left. His work was always my greatest teacher. I had other great teachers, but nothing like Egon Schiele. I worked for Jeff Koons for a while. I worked in his studio building his sculptures. It was insanely difficult to be so far from my own work. Never having the time or energy to work on my process, however, it did give me some pretty wonderful tools and techniques which inform on my current work. All of this, coupled with a complete disinterest in popularity, celebrity or having many friends gave me the time and isolation that I needed (and very much wanted) to just work.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am probably most excited about this new series that I have only started developing now. It is a massive departure from my typical work. It still has my hand, however, rather than just sticking with my black and white palettes, my new work is an explosion of color and very sensory subject matter. It was definitely NOT at all easy getting here. But honestly no day in the studio is ever easy. It’s infuriatingly wonderful work. What sets me apart is probably my process. I hear most artists talk about how they got started. I usually hear about a wide range of topics. Politics. Travel. Death. Experience. They talk about formulating their ideas into a body of work. My process is really nothing like this. I just go to my studio every day and get to work. There aren’t any conscious factors that shape what I make. The more I can shut my mind off, the better the work. After enough time, continuity starts to take shape and I shrug my shoulders and say “Well I guess that’s what my series will be.”. It’s nothing complex. But I pride myself in the simplicity of all of this. I feel like everyone really has a knack for over complicating everything. I’m happy to walk on the other side.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If traffic was no issue, I would start our time off by Belmont Shores in Long Beach. Then down PCH to Venice, stopping at some of my favorite galleries there. Book Soup on Sunset and then maybe Henry’s Tacos in Studio City.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My grandmother, who is a world famous Porcelain Painter, has been my greatest sounding board throughout my career. She is a master of composition and color. Having her to work with is probably what has allowed me to move forward with my work at this pace.
GL Wood Photography