Growing up with aspirations to be an artist in small town New Zealand it was very difficult to find impressive talent doing what I wanted to do that I could learn from and admire. With few, or barely any well known NZ illustrators to look up to I was constantly unsatisfied by school libraries, media and teachers for not feeding me inspiration, and was left to internet trawl (at school as my family didn't have a computer). It was important to me to include at least one New Zealand artist in my Curvy feature selection - to encourage young NZ artists, but also to support Henrietta at the start of her career. Henrietta Harris has a distinct fluid style, her subjects and compositional decisions encourage thought and her sketchbook illustrations express subtlety, and much sympathy to human form. I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do...
How did your career and life in art begin for you?
I have an encouraging and supportive mother and have always drawn and painted and created. A turning point in my career in terms of getting my work out there seemed to be making gig posters around Auckland which is like free exposure, but I can't remember ever not having an interest in drawing whether people see it or not.
What motivates and drives you to be creative?
I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing, it's just something I'm always thinking about. Artist friends are a good motivation too, inspiring talks over coffee.
Over the last year some of your portraits have started to include a liquid like wave through them. What made you decide to do this, was it a fit of rage that resulted in brilliance?
Nothing to do with rage- I was making a poster for Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and had done a couple of attempts but something wasn't quite there. I wanted to do something different from a bog standard portrait to portray his vibe and happened upon the warped face idea. I experimented with this further and they've been really well received.
You live in New Zealand, what are some of the pros and cons as an artist living there?
There are some great galleries and artists here, I do love and it and it is home but I do also find I have to escape every now and then. It would be nice if it was slightly bigger, sometimes the art shows seem to be a bit emperors-new-clothes-y but I think that happens everywhere to be honest. But in saying this there are a great bunch of hard-working artists who are creating endlessly beautiful original work.
Where do you see yourself creatively in the next 5 years? What sort of projects would you like to be working on?
I never really look more than a few months ahead which I'm not sure is a good or bad thing but I'd definitely like to get a bit more international. I do have a gallery in the states now which is going really well, so just more shows there and elsewhere and keep doing what I'm doing I guess! Can't really complain. I'm not running out of ideas any time soon.
The Curvy Book featuring Henrietta can be purchased here