Berlin and London-based image maker Chris Harnan’s style is process driven and he puts an emphasis on “play and experimentation”, forcing himself to “follow tangents that develop from accidents”. His works are a hybrid of handmade elements with computer created imagery, giving Chris an “archive of materials” to pull from when creating a new work.
Chris’ posters and standalone imagery have that internet art-inspired aesthetic to it, with different figures and shapes laid out onto an array of colourful backgrounds. The artist says his work goes beyond just computer references: “I’m influenced in a more general way by design and artwork made by people who don’t consider themselves artists – particularly children’s art or purely functional design,” he explains.
For the last six months the creative has been interning for Hort, and where he has spent time developing and refining his approach. “My process has been a key part in developing work that might seem digital at first, but a lot of work has gone into making the materials with my hands and I feel it loses a lot of its strength if I don’t commit to this way of working,” he explains. “To me, what’s key to developing new graphic languages is a far more tactile way of figuring new ways to do things and not getting stuck in the same way of working.”
Composition is a big part of Chris’ work and his affinity for playing with different components on a page is one of the reasons why he prefers simple geometrics and basic imagery. “Playing with sizes and positioning is easier when the elements are somewhat disposable, and creating links between the different elements is easier when the imagery is uncomplicated.”
Through Chris’ experimental approach his ideas also have an organic way of being realised. “I will have certain objectives in the back of my mind and simple solutions to the problem but I try not to get too attached to them,” he says. “The aim of playing is to stumble across things I couldn’t find if I was staring at a blank sketchbook page.”
About the Author
Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.