“I‘ve been getting lost in drawings all my life…” Gus Harper
It’s every artist’s dream to quit his dreaded day job and paint. Artist Gus Harper has been able to do just that. Although he has been painting all of his life, early on Harper took his turn working as a collegiate track coach, juvenile probation officer, window washer, ditch digger, etc. to support his passion. Just about fifteen years ago, he realized his dream of supporting himself solely with his art.
See image: Gus Harper, in front of painting “Searching for More Heroes”
Harper attributes much of his success to his family, friends, and colleagues. His mother, Fielden Harper (also an artist) was his first inspiration. She opened the door to her young son’s creativity by setting an example and following her passion in her own life.
See image: “awake”, oil on canvas, 36 x 30
In addition to his mom, Harper cites many other influences contributing to his success. “I always wanted to be an artist and I had some great teachers. Joan Vaupen and La Monte Westmoreland were two of my favorites.”
As most artists know, choosing a career in the arts is not always financially rewarding. So once he was out of school, Harper made his choice. “I asked myself…’OK, how do I make this happen?’ So, I just started painting away,” recalls Harper.
See image: “Fractured Adam”, oil and acrylic on canvas, 55” x 65″
Throughout the years, he has collaborated with many artists…most notably renowned artist Gronk. “I put together a show of all collaborative pieces about a year and a half ago,” explains Harper. “I had recently met Gronk at one of his shows so I just asked if he wanted to do it. He said ‘yes’ right away and we got right to it.” The first piece the pair created was entitled “A Mild Form Of Madness.” They continued to paint together and have since produced twenty works culminating in a show entitled “Monster and Simpleton.”
Harper continues to work with other artists and admits that each brings new elements to the creative process. “I have really enjoyed collaborating with many different artists,” says Harper. “I get excited when I see what other people are doing. I guess I am a bit in awe of the creative process of each artist.”
His new show “Searching For Heroes” features work created solely by the artist. “It is a reflection on the artist’s search for inspiration.”
See image: A view of Gus Harper’s Studio, “Searching For Heroes” on right 8′ x 15′
This Saturday, January 18th, “Searching For Heroes” opens with an artist reception from 6-11pm at Gus Harper’s Studio, 11306 Venice Blvd. LA 90066. 310-699-9509; http://gusharperart.com/