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Meet Britt Harrison of Britt Harrison in Downtown

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

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up in a quiet town in North Carolina, I spent a lot of time creating my own entertainment. I’ve always been fascinated with making things, drawing and painting as a way to interpret my environment. It opens a whole new world to connect with.

However, figuring out how to make my passion into a viable career felt completely impenetrable to me. So to ease my existential dread, I decided to study something meaningful but safe: psychology. Along with psychology, I continued my fine art education at NYU and UNC-Wilmington. When I graduated, I worked at a psychology clinic in Wilmington, NC doing research on a new neurofeedback with a program.

I was working with children struggling with ADHD and looking for alternative forms of treatment. Theoretically, this was really fascinating work and I thought I was headed in a good direction – but the majority of the process became very mundane and even though I continued to paint in my free time, I increasingly felt something pulling me away. So I moved out to Los Angeles in hopes of more possibilities.

Over the past five years, I’ve been lucky to find some creative positions; working in art galleries, assisting very inspiring professional artists like Shepard Fairey and Alexa Meade, and even the occasional job working in the art department in film and TV. All these jobs help supplement my art career and have led me in a direction that I couldn’t have imagined in school.

They have also greatly informed the way I handle my own business. Freelancing allows for days and sometimes weeks at a time that I can focus on creating my own work in my studio. Which is really valuable to me. So now I’m pushing forward with paintings and printmaking. I take commissions and do murals; anything to keep creating.

Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest struggle I’ve had is finding patience. Being an artist amongst such a large pool of talented painters can be frustrating, especially since purchasing art is a luxury that most households cannot afford. I spend a lot of time conceptualizing my pieces and perfecting them in my studio. My work is very personal, so monetizing that is always a strange experience.

Also, you never know when you’re actually going to sell a piece, so balancing your time and money can be really difficult. You just wind up working all the time without much guarantee where it’s going to lead you. But knowing that I have the opportunity to even be a single thread in our cultural fabric by investigating ideas that are relevant to our shared experience makes it all worth it.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Britt Harrison story. Tell us more about the business.
I am trained as a painter and woodcut printmaker, however, I have a tendency to experiment between multiple mediums. The major themes that I keep returning to are; communication and social expectation. I’m very interested in social evolution, such as, how our environment affects the way we interact with others.

I’ve been painting about these concepts for about eight years now and my work winds up resting in the contemporary surrealist realm. I usually isolate individual moments of conflict or tenderness by engaging them in sharp geometric forms. These forms signify different societal structures that pressure a person to act in a certain way.

Currently, I’m expanding this series into an art film that focuses on the social masks that we wear in efforts to fit in or to obscure our true form. I’ve been building reflective, metal masks that a person puts on to navigate the world. I’ve been sharing the narratives of real people that I’ve met who feel they cannot be truly open about their identity.

Stories about transitioning into another gender, or immigrating to a new culture or disappointing your parents by leaving your “real” job to become a nude model. I really appreciate connecting with people over this concept and hope that my work can reflect what they want to see in themselves. I’m interested in personal and societal transformation, and I want my work to be able to capture the issues that many of us struggle with but don’t know how to talk about.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
As technology progresses, it seems like we have new forms of entertainment developing every day. We’ve become so hyper-stimulated that you need to create a fully immersive experience to capture someone’s attention. It will be interesting to see how artists will start using virtual reality technology. I was originally opposed to new genres of art, mainly because I felt such a strong emotional connection with the painting.

The texture and movement of paint on canvas is immediate to me and I think it’s idiotic to say painting is dead. But as I’ve been branching into installations, I see the beauty of being able to step into a fully curated scene. I do think that more immersive, interdisciplinary art is where we are going. I’m looking for ways to adapt yet hold on to what made me fall in love with painting in the first place.


  • Hand Pressed Woodcut Prints : $30-50
  • Oil Paintings : $300 – 1,200
  • Commissions : $400 – 2,000

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