Liz Harper is an illustrator, painter, and general creator-of-things. Born and raised in Western Massachusetts, she studied illustration at MassArt, made Boston her home after graduating, and has spent the majority of her time creating art for herself and collaborating with the plethora of young artists here in the city.
Gathering inspiration from the humans that inhabit her urban environment, Harper strives to subconsciously bring a human element into each of her artworks; the human figure is something that always returns or acts as a starting point in her pieces.
“The are a lot of different shapes I can play around with when working with the human body,” says Harper. “The human element is so prominent in my illustrations and works because I feel everyone can relate to figures and people. It’s something everyone understands and knows about and it’s an interesting and fun challenge to see what kind of emotions I can bring out of the bodies and figures in my illustrations.”
Harper’s lovely illustrations, which she creates mostly the old-fashioned way, wrestling valiantly with watercolor and ink, incorporates nuanced symbolism and fun natural forms that are fittingly portrayed in her expressive style perfected with Microns and brushes. She works across design, nature and the human scope, and her signature style is heavy on effervescent tones and devoid of extraneous detail, making for works that straddle a magical line between rigorous and wistful.
Illustrative and self-reflexive, Harper draws comparisons between personal and cultural knowledge – themes and narratives that inform her everyday thinking, and those aspects pointing to being simply human.
“Recently I have been discovering that a lot of my pieces have this play between life and death,” says Harper. Mushrooms, skulls, dying flowers, they are all forms that I feel coincide well with the human body and also serve as pieces of a even larger statements about the balance of life and death.”
Female bodies inked on paper and surrounded by mushrooms and flowers that were selectively watercolored bring in the artist’s notions about rebirth, regeneration, and the life cycle in general. Her portraiture is breathtaking, especially on paper, and her steady hand and training as an illustrator makes her a right whiz with sketching likeness and emotion.
For more from Liz Harper check out her website.