Howard Harris | United States
The philosophical basis for my work is rooted in the study of quantum physics and chaos theory. This study creates a belief that the observer always influences what is observed since that visual reality is an ever-shifting, highly individualized experience. In any given moment, what we see reflects both our inner state and a synthesis of outer qualities—light, color, movement, space. My exploration in dimensional photographic art represents an attempt to recreate the perceptual experience, with its dynamic nature and hidden complexities. In my patented process I use photographic constructions, a single often abstracted image is layered over itself on clear acrylic surfaces and superimposed on a subtle grid. The resulting visual phenomenon infuses the image with a sense of dimensionality and fluidity affected by such changes as the angle of viewing and light. However, perceptual mechanics are only part of the equation. Equally essential to me are universal principles of design that produce qualities we perceive as beauty. This is my aim: to combine technology and aesthetics in a way that expands the viewer’s experience of photographic art.
Contemporary Art Curator: Tell us about how you got started. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I can't remember any time I didn't want to be an artist. From my earliest memories art was always apart of my thoughts and actions. I started entering local art competitions when I was 15 years old. Later received my Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree at the Kansas City Art Institute and My Masters Degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute in New York. I spent 30 years creating "Art" designing for others and after selling my business I now create only for me.
CAS: What is your process like, from initial idea to the creation of the piece? Do you usually develop the idea for a project before you find the "canvas", or vice versa?
Often the art project comes to me. I see an image that interests me and then try to interpret that vision, emotion and perception in a way others may experience what I see.
CAS: What do you love most about your creative process?
I love it when the creative process/methodology takes over my brain and goes its own way. Pure methodology only takes one so far, the magic happens when the image takes over the process.
CAS: What role does art and the artist play in the broader social conversation today?
The artists role is to be an interpreter of the image/conversation. As an interpreter the artist transcends language and is able to speak directly to the "sole" perception of the individual. Without the artist as interpreter words/actions/images may only be just a flash on the news.
CAS: Name a few of your favourite artists and influences.
That is a hard question to answer since I am inspired by so many in the arts world. Here are a few in the visual arts that I admire and am inspired by: Rowena Reed Kostellow, Julian Stanczak, Moholy-Nagy, Bridget Riley, Josef Albers, Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, Victor Vasarely, Yacov Agam, Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Clyfford Still, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Marcel Duchamp, Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti and Constantin Brancusi. I thought I would stop here with the arts world. From the Photographic world (understanding many do and have done more than photography) I admire Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, Diane Arbus, Edward Weston, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. From the Architectural/Design world (yes, most did more than just architecture) Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, and Ray Eames. I could go on and on naming sculptors, philosophers and physicists but, I think you get the wide variety of people that have influenced my vision, aesthetics and technology. The short version of who I admire is just about all people who work in multiple arts/multi-disciplinary techniques and push the edges of perception.
CAS: What is the best advice you received as an artist?
It is a rather simple concept but one that I am still trying to live by. Always remember, Decorative Art, Design is that what you do for others. Art, Fine Art is that what you do for yourself.
CAS: When did you discover your voice as an artist?
I have yet to discover my voice as an artist. I am still struggling trying to be content listening to my own voice.
CAS: What advice would you give to emerging artists trying to find their own?
The only advise I can give emerging artists is to remember "Art, Fine Art" is more process as it is Product and the process often is extremely frustrating. Belief in oneself is paramount to creating Fine Art.