An ongoing journey
NATALIE MILLAR-PARTRIDGE talks to genre artist John Harris about his work and inspiration
John Harris is a Devon-based genreartist, working from his beautiful studio space within his home in the picturesque village of Brampford Speke.
Having painted for the past 60 years – after graduating with a Fine Art degree in 1970 – his works include commissions for NASA alongside marine art, landscape, sci-fi imagery and his series on Imaginative Realism, which explores the realms between fantasy and reality, along with a new project, connected to his NASA work, named The Secret History.
“It’s impossible to pinpoint when my journey as an artist began, though outwardly, I would have to say when I was 14 or 15, my art teacher at school looked at the choices I made with colour and said: ‘you’re going to be a painter’. I went to Art College in 1965 and have been travelling, ever since,” says John.
After many years of making do with space available, in 2007 John finally managed to create a purpose-built studio within the footprint of his home – a T-shape with the trunk of the T extending out into the garden.
“It faces south, but the long trunk of the T ensures that no sunlight falls on the north wall where I have constructed a lattice of timbers, off which I hang canvases that I am currently working on,” explains John.
Although John has some 42 square metres to play with, he admits he never seems to have enough space, largely because he manages to fill it with ‘junk’ that he has collected for inspiration.
“The gable-end facing south is filled with glass, creating a lovely light-filled space to work from,” enthuses John.
Mood and atmosphere are the governing principles behind John’s canvases.
“Whether it’s imaginative realism or abstract, it seems to me we have been born into a great mystery and our relationship to it, is the biggest mystery of all. This lends itself to things that I look at, and the light and space they occupy, a peculiar intensity. It is this that I try to express one way or another, through my canvases,” says John.
John’s location in rural Devon is a source of constant inspiration, as is the theme of space which features heavily within his works.