We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsee Harris and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chelsee, what are you inspired by?
As I get more involved with my art practice I am finding inspiration amongst my immediate surroundings more often. I used to feel like as an artist you had to connect yourself to big ideas to make meaningful work, but these days for me that couldn’t feel more false. For example, I often take screenshots while watching movies and use those screenshots in my paintings, or I use a pattern from a blouse that was my mom’s or I take pictures on a walk around the neighborhood. If I ever get stuck I can just look around my house or studio and get curious about the things I’ve been holding onto. One item can remind me of another and I can follow that thought to the next like a bunny trail until I land on something that peaks my interests.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My work is what I like to call collage painting, where instead of cutting and pasting found material I am reproducing those images with oil, acrylic paint, colored pencils, graphite, and pastels. My mom said that as a kid the television was my babysitter and that, in some ways, still rings true. My reference materials come from films, television shows, art history, and advertisements. These materials are within my immediate surroundings. For example, a piece of an illustration is lifted from a childhood book, or an interior is actually a screenshot from a movie I had watched the night before, or a graphic is sampled from the tag of one of my mom’s old garments. They are all clues to my lived experience, arranged together ambiguous enough that the viewer is able to create their own narrative out of it. There is a softness to ambiguity in that there is no hard line drawn between one thing and another, the lines are diffused with room to wiggle. In my mind, you can’t have softness without intimacy and you can’t have intimacy without some vulnerability.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am a third-generation San Diegan and what I love most about this city is that there is always something new to do or see. A few of my favorite things are hiking down to Blacks Beach to lay in the sun, getting alcoholic slushies from Fernside, walking to Rad Habits to get acai bowls to eat at the park, sunsets in Ocotillo, and sunrises from Garnet Peak.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have been so lucky to have the guidance and support from my mentors Teresa Stanley and Gina Tuzzi.

Website: chelseeharris.com

Instagram: @chel_pee

Image Credits
Ryno Severud

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