Charley Harper is the man! I love his illustrations of the natural world; the simplification of the form, joyful colours, and personality. He was born in America in 1922 and has enjoyed a 60-year career before sadly passing away in 2007. I can really identify with his style and it engages me in the subject. What’s brilliant about it is its versatility – from iPad covers to school books, jewellery to prints – it has been commercially successful in both this and the past century. Aesthetically, I find his repetition, block colours, and vintage 50s/60s style (as it could be described nowadays) really pleasing, as well as his choice of subject matter.
“When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. I regard the picture as an ecosystem in which all the elements are interrelated, interdependent, perfectly balanced, without trimming or unutilized parts; and herein lies the lure of painting; in a world of chaos, the picture is one small rectangle in which the artist can create an ordered universe.” Charley Harper