We had the good fortune of connecting with Thomas Harris and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Thomas, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
I feel like there is such a constant push to be evermore efficient and productive, and I really hate it. There’s pressure to be constantly creating, and with this whole social media era it’s not not even art. It’s relegated to content creation. If content is what the latest algorithm wants, I don’t want to be a part of it. It’s hard as an artist not to be influenced by what it seems like the internet wants. I think that all of the things in my life that are not creating are what makes me want to create in the first place! Those non-art things that I see in my day to day are what motivate me and influence a lot of my work. When I’m being pushed to make more and spend every second of my day thinking about it, inevitably it’s going to burn me out and I’ll forget all the things that actually motivate me to create.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In my artwork, I love capturing everyday things. I’ll hear little snippets of conversations from strangers and imagine their backstories. People walking around, at their jobs, taking their kids to school, it’s all so interesting to me. Bringing these normal occasions to life in illustrations and animations is so fulfilling. Daily life deserves more credit than I think it’s given. Each day brings an endless stream of crowdsourced ideas and everybody’s free to just open up to let it in.

I think I’m still at a very early stage in my career, just sort of piecing together all of the things that are important to me and molding that into a lifestyle. It’s difficult because it feels like cleaning out your childhood bedroom. Figuring out what you need to keep, what you’d like to keep, and what you know you can let go of.

I’m learning that there’s a little club of people rooting me on and giving me a hand here and there to help me on my way. It’s a really intimidating mission, to be an artist and have an income. I’ve come to take what every person says to me about being an artist with a grain of salt. When people give advice, especially pertaining to creative work, I remind myself that it is what worked for them. We’re not the same people with the same situations, but I can take a bit from each piece of advice and see what works for me.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Okay, the very first thing I would tell my friend to do before they even come to LA is to watch Elizabeth Ito’s show City of Ghosts on Netflix. It’s an animated show that explores different areas of the city through the eyes of some kids on the lookout for ghost activity. It’s a beautiful show.

One of the spots that I came across was with my sibling Vincent and their partner Thục in Koreatown. It’s called Gol Tong Chicken and is home to the most fun chicken eating experience I’ve ever had. We ordered their big chicken plate and with it came three or four different flavors. You’re given a pair of gloves for eating the chicken and it’s one of the best messy eating experiences I’ve ever had. After having dinner, we walked down the street to Boba Bear which is a boba and hookah lounge combo.

I think one of my favorite things about LA is that I can just be outside on 95% of days and be totally content. So, I would definitely want to get my friend outdoors a lot. I like to go to Griffith Observatory just to look over the city and take it in. Another spot I like going to is Elysian Park. Topanga State Park is pretty close and going up the path you end up with this view down the coastline and you can just watch planes departing from LAX and doing their little loops up in the sky. I’d also love to take my friend to check out either Junior High or Zebulon and see what they’ve got going on in the spaces.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d love to shoutout my sibling, Vincent. They’re based out of Pasadena and have been working in various facets of the entertainment industry for the last number of years, starting in New York and ending up out here. They’ve been a driving force behind my pursuit of “making it” as an artist since I was a little kid. Vincent’s a musician and is currently making a huge library of ambient music posted under the moniker @datadeficient.wav on Instagram. Some of my earliest illustration work was working on their album art and it feels only fitting that I get to work on the new art for their latest release!

Website: https://www.thomasharris.dog/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thomasharris.dog/

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