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Excited by Extremely Straightforward Symbols and Elements

This collection of images comes from a series based around relationships, drawing from my own recent experiences. It’s a project where I’ve concentrated on trying to reflect the conflicting emotions through the aesthetic, through unusual combinations and contrasting shapes. I am a common topic for me, I make my work about what I’m thinking about, and at this point I’m thinking a lot about myself – it’s therapeutic, I suppose.

I studied illustration, and have worked as a designer. I am now just making artwork. I am still figuring out to what end I’m making these images. At some point, it is just a compulsion of mine. It is not long ago, that I had a very different mindset about what I wanted my art to be. I am putting my life into the images I’m making, because at this point my work is somewhat separated from the world that I studied in. This could sound horribly hopeless, but I feel in no rush to either abandon or conform to anything, and that feels like an advantage to me, it’s quite exciting.

I put a lot of emphasis on play and experimentation and force myself to follow tangents that develop from accidents. I paint and draw traditionally outside of a computer to develop a collection/archive of materials to use. I will have certain objectives in the back of my mind, simple solutions to the problem, initial ideas, but I try to not get too attached to them. The aim of me playing is to stumble across things that I couldn’t find if I was staring at a blank sketchbook page. It’s key to developing new graphic languages, to me it is a far more tactile way of figuring new ways to do things, and not getting stuck in the same way of working.

My schedule is very erratic, and I can’t work without energy really at all, so I have to take advantage of it when I can. I drink a lot of coffee during the day and then drink a lot of beer in the evenings, all to find those brief 3 or 4 hours of really joyous, imaginative, creativity time. The rest of the day is not spent sitting there waiting, but rather making a lot of bad work.

My work is often simple and undetailed as I prefer simple geometrics and basic imagery. I focus on composition as a way to communicate things, to try and create drama or narrative, and playing with sizes and positioning is easier when the elements are somewhat disposable. Similarly, creating dynamics between the different elements is more powerful when the imagery is uncomplicated. It is about putting more importance on the composition as a whole.

I am excited by extremely straightforward symbols and elements, I’m influenced by design and artwork made by people who don’t consider themselves artists, from everyday signs or advertising to children’s art, where the thought process is immediately obvious and plainly laid out on the page. Reveling in being very straight forward with the image you’re making and how you’re communicating with the people who are going to see it.


Christopher Harnan

Berlin and London-based image maker, who follows tangents that develop from accidents. His works are a hybrid of handmade elements with computer created imagery.

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