MUNTHE ART MONDAY: HARLIE BRIGGS
From: London, England
Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.
My name is Harlie Briggs and I’m an abstract artist from London, England. My practice involves experimenting with different mediums to represent nature and the women around me. Living in a world with lots of waste and overconsumption, I also spend my time collecting antique vases and pots to up-cycle and re-home to give them a second lease of life. More recently, I have loved designing my own earth friendly clothing, consisting of recycled cotton shirts and silk scarves; seeing others wearing my art gives me a real sense of pleasure and pride (and it means I get to wear them all the time too).
Art gives me time for my mind to be quiet, concentrating on painting dissipates the thousand thoughts that are bowling around my head on a daily basis.
Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?
I’ve found being a woman in this career incredibly uplifting with a real feel good and supportive community of likeminded females around me - females that I admire and get to work with.
As with any industries that are predominantly male focused, females often have to work a little harder to be seen and heard, but I can already feel that this is changing!
Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?
Emily Ponsbury for her use of depth and her connection with the nude and nature. Joan Mitchell for her large canvas paintings and how unafraid she was to paint abstract in the mid 1900s. Jenny Saville for her colours and mark makings and for inspiring me to look at the naked body in a different way to what the media portrayed to me as I was growing up.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?
Drawing and painting females in the nude has been one of the most interesting and fulfilling parts of my career thus far. Historically, females have always been painted by the male gaze. So, to be able to connect with, appreciate and paint a woman’s body from a female gaze feels so magical. It’s especially magical when these females see themselves in a different light, as a piece of art rather than an object or a body to pick apart. Seeing and hearing how these paintings make women feel is reassuring.
I have found social media quite challenging in terms of rejecting images of nude paintings. This is reflected in society, where female bodies are over-sexualised and scrutinised. In the future, I’d hope for social media to be more supportive of artwork for the human body.
What would you like people to notice in your artwork?
Rather than notice, I would prefer the viewer to feel a certain way, a slice of calmness and a moment to pause in the busy lives that we all lead. I take joy in even the tiniest moments out in nature, I believe it can be incredibly healing, and with that it tends to inspire positive feelings for us human beings. I could only hope that my work could enhance the viewer’s mood and remind us of the amazing effect that nature has on our well-being.
Each Monday we bring you a fresh interview with a contemporary female artist.
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