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Art & Life with Adam Harrison

Today we’d like to introduce you to Adam Harrison.

Adam, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Growing up in a single parent home, our family did not have very much money and pursuing a career in the arts seemed impracticable (to say the least). And as important as drawing and painting were to me, I made the decision to join the armed services once out of high school. However, the night before my induction into the Marines I was in a horrific car accident, becoming permanently disqualified from every branch of the military. And after several weeks in the hospital I realized I was given a gift, and rather than seeing my current circumstances as a setback, I saw it as an opportunity to become a real artist. After the settlement I went to art school in southern California and haven’t looked back. Two degrees later, I have a great gallery with the George Billis L.A, selling my large onsite paintings of Los Angeles, a great teaching gig at CSULB and a lovely wife, who is also in the arts.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I enjoy the perceived abstraction of nature and the infinite interlocking combinations of its individual parts. And the act of unpacking the multilayered-sets of complex relationships found in nature is what brings me back to the canvas day-in and day-out. A typical canvas will take me 1.5 to 2 years to complete. The lengthy amount of time for every painting is due to the: size (average canvas: 5-7′), strict observation without the aid of photography, the array of issues one might imagine working in the city of Los Angles, and the lengths I take to insure that my pictures have a watertight foundation of accuracy.

But most importantly, I get to witness a city like no one quite can. Imagine how much a city street in L.A changes in the period of two years… Not only in the physical changes like the reconstruction of an older building, but most interestingly with the light. Working with one vantage point, I remain stationary while the sun runs its circuit 1.5 to 2 times around me and the city. The “individual parts” (i.e. height vs. width) can be seen relatively quickly but the “multilayered-sets” of lights and atmospheres have to be accumulated over long period of time. And it’s this record of time that I leave for others. And that’s why I paint.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
It’s not easy for me, nor for many other artists to balance life’s obligations (bills and the like) with the required time and energy needed to create. The one of bit advice I can share to help maintain a healthy level of productivity in the studio is to find someone to answer to and to be accountable for your practice. If a friend, a gallery or a teacher is waiting to see a given amount of work, you will make the time to produce it. That’s one advantage to going to grad school, it enforces the habit of having things finished in a set amount of time.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I have a couple shows (t.b.a) in the making and people who are interested can learn more by keeping tabs on my Instagram account: @adambharrison. As well as visiting the George Billis gallery in Culver City at http://www.georgebillis.com/los-angeles.html. And of course people can visit my website at https://www.adambharrison.com/

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Kerry Knuppe

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Jonathan Burke

    September 27, 2018 at 17:43

    Hi Adam,

    I’m so impressed with this series of paintings and that you’re painting on location! It gives them a vitality and energy that comes through.

    Jonathan Burke

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