Born in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood in 1943, David Harrison moved to then early Brookfield in 1949 where his father, an engineer for Allen Bradley, had built a home in an early subdivision situated in a pasture. From an eight- room schoolhouse in Elm Grove, he graduated from a 36 room St. Mary’s Grade School as one of 120 students in the eight grade. He found his education in high school and college at St. Francis Seminary on the Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shoreline. Having taught grade school at two diocesan parishes, he began his long 32- year career as an English instructor at Arrowhead High School in Hartland Wisconsin. His early summer years were spent backpacking in the mountains of Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah. After joining the Chicago Mountaineering Club in 1983, he started rock climbing and spent many expeditions climbing in the mountains of Alaska, Peru, Bolivia, Tajikistan, Siberia, British Columbia and the Yukon. He edited the Chicago Mountaineer for several years as well as editing a creative writing journal for his high school during this time. During the teaching years, he studied theater staging and lighting at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis Minnesota. The influence of his experience led to his work with his high school’s drama productions, the Lake Country Players and the Waukesha Civic Theater. This time saw him as the first president of the Nordic Ski Club of Milwaukee when he began developing cross-country ski trails for the Department of Natural Resources in the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest. He competed avidly at cross-country ski races throughout the Midwest and completed 13 American Bierkebeiner ski races in Hayward Wisconsin. His ski experience led to his participation on the USSA Central
Division Board of Directors. It was during this period that he amassed a collection of his 35mm mountaineering slides that exceed 15,000 images. In addition he found subject matter in noted gardens and the work of Bill Radler, noted rosarian, at a time when the digital revolution was developing. Harrison had always wanted to print his photos for framing, but his busy life style prevented him from accomplishing it until he visited Skagway Alaska in the summer of 2004. It was in a local art gallery that that he discovered the wonders of software manipulation and the technical artistry available through digital imaging, a process that uses fade-resistant archival inks and acid free papers that allow him to create works of museum quality. He he now owns an Epson wide format printer and a collection of acid free papers that include metallic, matte, canvas, fine art, and photographic uses. His work shop now allows him to develop unique ways to present his laminated work - to many, a radical departure in how art is meant to display. He continues his jaunts to the gym, his volunteer work and digital painting effects through the application of various filters in his digital workshop (Adobe CC). This derivative photographic art evolves into layered images that combine drama, vivid colors, and impressionistic effects - all reflecting his vision and values perceived in his world He classifies his work primarily as digital imaging, but others have labled his works as graphics, print-making or even painting. Each summer since 2004, Harrison has juried into as many as 22 art fairs in the Midwest. He is now retired from the art circuit and works from his home.
About David Harrison
Dusk at Silver Lake (20" x 30")
DRAMA COLOR FANTASY My art is not entirely photographic but entirely based on photographic files of my taking. It is not entirely digital since many files are taken originally from slide film. The best description, however, is that of a colorful abstractive whimsical layered blend - derivative and surrealistic as an output of Photoshop. It’s all about enhanced color, drama, light, fantasy, movement, emotion as my original photographs transition from realistic presentation to an almost abstract derivative surrealism. I want others to dance in an emotional re-discovery of my unforgettable experiences. Each image is a unique single edition work printed on Kodak metallic photographic paper laminated directly to UV filtering museum quality acrylic and backed by another opaque layer of acrylic – an expensive risk-ridden process. The end result is a frameless, three dimensional, very high gloss production with manually polished edges that seem to lift away from the wall in space.
My Artistic Declaration
Blustering Sunset Over Red Lodge (30" x 20")
plan to generate. It is odd that in my medium, one would expect many copies to be made; but working against general expectations, I print only one certified image per each size of frame I plan to produce and then permanently retire the image. One characteristic aspect of my finalized work is reflected in an upward movement that tends towards subtle interruptions that lead the eye back to other discoveries of color, texture, and shadow. Other aspects of my images include colors that pulse, shadows that drive colors to the viewer, and the illusion of three-dimensional texture that invite the viewer to touch the canvas. As I was infected with the power found in shafts of light upon a stage, I now find my art evolving in new images that still reflect my experiences in theater at UM-Minneapolis – the thirst of emotional hunger, color, drama, and movement. In 2019, I am teasing the glowing aurora of colors around subjects of the past which then I may have avoided but in which now I am finding renewed dramatic interest.
CREATING A WORK OF ART is like eating a hot-fudge sundae - its flavors swirling intensely in my mouth, the sweetness caressing my tongue, the milk of the ice cream coating my teeth, the flavors teasing my throat. In sum, creativity is an addictive process. As in a romantic Schumann symphony filled with emotional themes and as in a succulent hot fudge sundae, my desire to create leads me to anticipate designs which are fixated on color, texture, flow, contrast, drama – all of which become a collage in my art of uplifting flavors waiting to be discovered.
A good piece of art for me is one that absorbs my focus for a time during which my mind revels in translucent colors, movement, drama, in the subtle ideas that appear unexpectedly delicious. Just as I can be absorbed into the rhapsody of classical music, I want my images to dance, continually unfold, and reveal hidden nuances. I want my colors’ unusual juxta-positions to not only bathe but seduce the viewer. My work begins with simple images - images of flowers, vistas, clouds, sunsets, sunrises, lakes, streams, glaciers, storms, textures of nature – but especially from one image whose setting, color, or drama begs for expressive manipulation. I take pleasure in discovering those images that by themselves or that in combination with others will form the basis for a work of art or a series of creations for a series. In production, I might produce as many as ten variations using the image as a theme – but of these, only one variation will be printed on canvas and framed for each image size I
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- david harrison -