Welcome back, Funky people!
Derek Harrison is a painter in the John Singer Sargent school of realism, but painting 21st century women. Starting late (in his 20s), he got into art through tattooing and, trying to really polish his craft, got into oil painting and techniques of the old masters.
A month ago, he did a live painting at Santa Barbara Art Foundry, and we got talking and soon I was grabbing my microphones and computer and setting up shop in his State Street studio for this hour-long chat.
Topics talked about include:
The new studio, right next to the old studio
Why 1st Thursdays in Santa Barbara aren’t as good
What Santa Barbara needs to borrow from Pasadena and Los Angeles’ art scene
Michael Husser and the Equator cafe
Sullivan Goss and Waterhouse galleries in Santa Barbara
Growing up in Denver and Steamboat Springs
Getting started painting at 20 and the idea of “God-given talent”
Ghost World and Art School Confidential
The resurgence in art schools for realism
The early Impressionists, especially Monet
How a desk job led to his first canvas work
Does comic book art lead to ideas of how art is made in young people?
How working at a tattoo shop taught him fundamentals of realism
Jer Clarke’s influence on Harrison
Jeff Gogue’s tattoo work
Shawn Barber’s workshops and how he learned about color
The learning curve of realist painting, and when he got his style
How hard it is to find models
His methods of working with models
His current challenges in painting
Harrison’s top five artists
One of his favorite models, Samantha
His most successful methods of selling art
Matt Kennedy and La Luz de Jesus Gallery and Harrison’s big break
Harrison’s daily routine
You can check out Derek's site here.