Reflecting upon my early artistic influences, Charley Harper came to mind.
In the late 60’s, his artwork was celebrated and often published in Cincinnati’s local papers. I remember cutting out pictures of his work and collaging them into my first, child sketchbook, as a way to learn to read words, such as bird, praying mantis, even flying squirrel.
My father worked in the Federal building, in downtown Cincinnati, where Harper’s tile mural was commissioned. On special "go to work with dad" days, I got to see this amazing piece. Harper's imaginative way of stylizing the animal and plant forms was what was so attractive about his artwork even then.
As I sit at my drawing table and stylize Indiana native plant forms for my encaustic monoprint series, I think about Charley Harper and wonder what advice he would give me.
I am thankful for the legacy of Charlie Harper and the subtle influence of his work on my own. Todd Oldham is also in my debt for publishing Harper's work in books so we can continue to enjoy it. Check out his official website https://charleyharperartstudio.com/.