Inspired by snapshots and film stills from the mid-century, T.S. Harris' paintings are colourful yet bittersweet, depicting fleeting moments captured almost a lifetime ago. A Bridgeman Images favourite, our Artist Manager recently interviewed Harris on her working process and personal highlights.
What is your favourite time of the day to be in your studio?
I love any time of day in the studio. I work full days, so there are things I appreciate about the
morning and things I appreciate in the afternoon. In the morning there’s a freshness and
anticipation of things to come, and in the afternoon I enjoy really getting into a painting and also
starting new pieces.
Who has influenced you and your work?
Well, I think there is something to learn from any great artist regardless of genre, but my
personal favourites artistic influences have been Diebenkorn for his lush brushwork and figurative
style and Hopper of course.
What is your process when creating and capturing these scenes?
My process usually starts with a found black and white image from the past. I spend time
sketching, cropping and arranging the composition. Then I prep the canvas with an
underpainting colour, let it dry, then start applying layers, letting them dry in-between.
What has been the most exciting moment of your career so far?
Oh, there have been so many! I have to say the most exciting moment this year was the
California Cool Art Auction at the Laguna Art Museum. My painting was the featured piece and
as the auction went on, the bidding was fierce. In the last few minutes, I couldn’t even watch. My
husband had to narrate what was happening. The auction closed with the painting selling for
$42,000- a record high for me.
Your paintings are aptly called "Sunshine Noir", where did this come from?
I came up with the term to describe my work, but I’m sure I had heard it beforehand. I feel like
my work has an initial sunny, bright look to it (Sunshine), but then you realize they are also
about love and loss, impermanence and beauty (Noir). Bittersweet.
Finally, if you could invite 6 people from history to dinner, who would they be and why?
1. Nisargatta - to soak up his wisdom
2. Diebenkorn -also to soak up his wisdom and tell him how much his work means to me
3. Marilyn Monroe - she’d be so interesting to visit with
4. PG Wodehouse - he’d be hilarious!
5. Louis Hay - she’s so kind and loving
6. Alice Neal - I’d love to hear her stories