SOTB: Harry Stephens

Harry Stephens is a former student of Elizabeth College.  Here he tells us all about his works, which are currently on show through to the end of December as part of Six of the Best in the greenhouse.

Can you describe the concerns of your work including what ideas, themes and research sources influence and are present in it?
Really this piece of worked stemmed from going on a school trip to America where we had a day in New York and I was struck by how incredible and varied the architecture was.
I thought that maybe I could incorporate New York into a project under the set title of ‘Accommodations and Alliances’.
I was trying to think of ways to link my experience of New York into my final year project in the end I chose to look at how the environment helped certain buildings to blend in and others to stand out. I was interested in how alliances are formed within that environment.
In terms of Research I initially began looking at Futurist and Cubist artists’ works such as Oscar Schlemmer and Natalia Goncharova as well as representational painters like Liam Spencer.
I wanted to covey the sheer excitement and energy contained within New York City in my work.

What medium/s did you use to create your final year piece and why did you choose this/these medium?
Well over the last two years I have been working in Acrylic paint for a lot of my pieces so I decided to develop with this medium.
I like working specifically with Acrylics because they are so versatile. Initially I was using pure Acrylic but eventually I began to combine it with water as this is easier to apply and helped me to meet the time restrictions of the exam, it also gave a flowing movement to the work. I did try other materials such as chalks and pastels but I like to make detailed representational paintings and I found using acrylic exclusively was the best method for achieving my aims.

What aspect of the making of your work was the most challenging?
I think the scale and size of the work was the most challenging. In the past I had been mostly working on card and so I decided to try working on canvas. Painting on canvas takes a lot longer because of its texture you really have to work to get the paint stuck in. Also achieving the detail on large scale paintings was difficult as previously I had been painting small A4 paintings. I achieved the detail in the end through the use of a range of brush sizes and brush work to portray movement and direction, but yeah that was certainly the most challenging part of making my work.

Can you see yourself developing the work you have made? If so what themes and ideas would you address?
In terms of development I think maybe I would move into smaller more focussed scenes from the city. For example instead of focussing on the whole of Times Square, choosing to focus on one building, or a certain action. Either that or doing a more detailed even larger scale painting of the City.

What does the immediate future hold for you and how does Art fit into that future?
I’m hopefully going to go to Brighton to study primary teaching. I think that my art will be a bonus if I do become a teacher, because it can inspire the younger generations and help them in developing.
I never intended to take art any further than A-Level although I do really enjoy it so maybe I’ll take it up in later life.

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