Creativity – In the Studio With Artist Harrison Blackford
In this series on The Southern C, meet some great Southern creative minds – the artists, designers, makers and doers – that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity. Go behind the scenes to see where they work, what they are working on, the path that led them to this moment and just what made them “take the leap” from idea to doing.
The subjects may vary but most share many of the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions. We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region. According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious” and this is one thing we are happy to spread!
Describe your brand/business/product:
I am a Southern abstract and impressionist artist. I paint with personality and color! My passionate use of color and expressive paint strokes allow me to infuse my personality into each one of my paintings. I enjoy painting abstract, landscape, figurative, and still life paintings. It is thrilling to take an everyday object/scene/person and infuse a beautiful color palette onto a canvas with my paint brush.
I worked in interior design briefly before launching my career as an artist. Putting paint on a canvas and illuminating a space with a single painting feeds the interior designer lurking inside of me. Nothing excites me more than creating beautiful spaces through the color and drama within a painting!
Describe a day in your studio:
My studio is a bright, sunny, and happy spot where I feel inspired to create. I am very lucky to have such an amazing space with high ceilings and tall windows. — lots of light! Typically, I will paint throughout the day. Clients often stop by my studio in the afternoon.
How has your background influenced your work?
It has been my good fortune to grow up in beautiful South Carolina. I think we have become an exciting mecca for eclectic artists and creative businesses. For me…whether it’s an old southern building, a grazing cow, a beautiful field with trees, or a musician on a porch…I am lucky to be surrounded by inspiring subject matter constantly. The Southern C Summit was such a wonderful opportunity for all of these businesses to meet each other and form relationships.
Favorite blogs or websites that inspire you or where do you find your inspiration?
I Suwanee – I have followed Jamie Meares for a long time so it was so amazing to hear her speak at the Summit on her creative development and growth of Furbish. I completely identify with her style and their motto “Dare to Mix.” — Bring on the color! Bring on the pattern!
The English Room – Holly has a exciting style and I love her use of color!
What was the catalyst to “take the leap” from idea to doing?
I have been painting all of my life! Having amazing art teachers along the way, my appreciation for art exploded. During college, I focused on art history and studio art at Sewanee: The University of the South. Sewanee, TN is such a beautiful place- It inspired me then and still does. Studying abroad, I had the opportunity to see all of the influential masterpieces in Europe that I had studied for years. I always loved painting, but it was not until after college that I had the time to paint daily and explore my own artistic style. My painting “Cinque Terre” though, was my first painting someone wanted to purchase. I was working in Washington, DC at the time and painted it simply because we had an empty wall. That painting gave me the itch to continue creating and developing my style!
Best and worst part of being a “creative”
Turning my passion and creativity into my own business has been an exciting venture. My mind is constantly spinning with ideas, which is a great thing! I always have a list of paintings that I want to start. I sometimes have a hard time being “off the job”. When you own your own business, it can feel like it is 24/7. At what point am I not thinking about what to do next? It is all in the balance of the two! I feel very lucky to do what I love!
Speed Round – Five Favorites
Artist: Henri Matisse — talk about use of color! Wow!
Book: The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Indulgence: That third or fourth cup of coffee
Escape: British Virgin Islands
Quote: “Why not have a big life?” – Emily Dickinson
To read about more Southern creatives “In the Studio” click these links:
Elizabeth Stafford White and Jacquelyn Stafford Buckner
Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and contributing editor for Southern Living, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors. This series – “In the Studio With” – offers her the perfect opportunity to do so!
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