4The Living

Our Artist Showcase event on December 2, 2018, will feature Eddie Harris of Studio47DC and his collection, “4The Living”. 

We recently had the opportunity to sit-down with Eddie to discuss his journey as an artist and the inspiration behind his work. 

What inspired you to become an artist? 

I have been a creative soul for as long as I can remember. I was first inspired to paint by my pops, who would oil paint portraits and landscapes. We would watch Bob Ross when I got home from school after doing my homework. Those were the early days of my creative trek.

I loved comics , “Peanuts” was my favorite illustrated story, Snoopy obviously was the best. I wanted to draw for them when I got old enough so that’s what I’d draw in Elementary School, copying from the comics section of the Sunday newspaper.

I later got into Marvel and DC comics, and that’s how I learned how to draw the anatomy, muscle and skeletal structure. It all connected by diving into comic books. That was were I struck up the love for drawing. By Middle School, I was drawing all the time, using paint markers and air brushing to customize jeans & jean jackets for other kids. 

As I got older I moved into graphic design, teaching myself photoshop and did a lot of multimedia work. I was always left and right brained, trying to find ways to push my creativity into everything I was doing.

Eventually, music took over my life and I didn’t really get back into painting again until I met my now fiancé , Jen. She was taking art classes and had all these cool paintings around. That’s when I was inspired to jump back into the arts regularly.

Portraits of famous folks was practice, leading to  the commissioned work I do today.  I have yet to do my greatest work, I have so much I want to say through my art, based on my experience as a black man in the US. Things I’ve seen and heard, things I feel as an artist, I’m required to give my perspective through the language of art.  Haven’t really done that yet so stay tuned...

Do you have a favorite art style that you like to utilize or draw inspiration from? 

As long as I’ve been doing art, I still feel like I don’t have a set style yet really.  Maybe because I’m too close to my work? I know a lot of folks who’ve been around me for a long time say that they see a style link in all my work. I don’t feel like I have one because I’m usually all over the place. (Laughing) 

Every time I sit in front of a canvas I never know how it’s gonna turn out, it’s always an experiment. I may try something that I never tried before, even when it’s crunch time, under a deadline for a client. Sometimes, I’ll sit down with a direction, a workflow. Then sometimes it’s completely random.  

There’s a German artist name Voka that I feel Has the style I would say is closest to mine, (if I had to compare). He uses a lot of color and free motion with his brush and knife strokes. I’ve painted a bunch of famous people that I endeared like  Bob Marly, Chuck Brown, Jimi Hendrex, Nelson Mendela, people that I grew up listening to or their message spoke to me and I still enjoy it. 

What does your collection “4The Living” mean? 

I’ve always been fond of flowers, and that’s just at the basic level the most elementary of explanations.

But to dig deeper, there are flowers that struggle to grow in places under harsh conditions. You’ve got flowers that grow through cracks in concrete, or in the desert. So many different species of flowers that inhabit this earth, some that we don’t know about. It’s an amazing organism full of so much life. When you look at how they grow, the seeding, how some flowers germinate and help other flowers to grow, just the cycle of life. It’s the same with humans. That’s why we're here right?  Reproduction, wether it’s metaphorical or you take it straight up, life is for the living. Flowers come in so many different biological species, so many colors to experience, how could you not be intrigued?

My mom loved Japanese art and I have a tattoo sleeve with that type of style. It was a tribute to my mom when she passed, because she introduced it to me and as I got older I fell in love with it. If you look at Japanese art and the flowers that are used, the elements that they use, especially in the older traditional Japanese art , you’ve got wind or air represented, you’ve got water, earth, some of the basic elements that make up life on this planet.  Flowers need that just like we do. 


What do you want people to take away?

I want to make sure people walk away with life expectancy, courage to go out and just experience life, to see things, enjoy it, smell the flowers! We get so caught up in our day to day, walking through that concrete jungle.  We have to make opportunities to experience life to the fullest. If anything honesty; it’s a reminder to myself, a reminder to be fearless, not be concerned with failure. To bust through the concrete or go without water for a while and still be able to nourish myself enough to provide a good experience for my kids, my family, or anyone else who may need it. That’s what flowers do they provide through all that, through whatever adversity, no matter which flower it is or where it grows there’s a  purpose, it finds  a way and blooms and it provides for bees, for birds, for us, for the earth. It’s for the living. 

Do you have a favorite flower? And Why?

Theres a flower, it’s an orchid, called White Egret. This flower is named after a bird called a white egret, or Heron a symbolic bird, from Ancient Egypt, to Japan. It's  a beautiful, beautiful flower. One legend behind it stuck with me when I was looking for a flower for my sleeve.  In short form, two people separated by war, one sent a love letter to the other via the White Egret with a flower bulb attached. The loved one lost his life and where he fell this orchid grew. I have that orchid tattooed on my arm to pay tribute to my mom.