T.A. (Thomas) Harris

thwizzy@yahoo.com
(425) 246-2883

I began my career as a self-trained painter. I exhibited my work and continued painting until I ran aground with the medium. To get around the blockage, I took up photography as a fine art medium deciding to get my formal education in the medium. I transferred to the Rhode Island School of Design and took my BFA and MFA there. I was really taken with color photography as a fine art medium, which few saw or understood its possibilities at that time (1970s).

After school I moved back to Seattle and took a teaching position. I started working with an idea of a kind of still life using scavenged materials (lead, wood, plastic, canvas, paint, etc.) and shaped them into abstract tableaux. The final product was a silver gelatin or platinum print. This part of my work was well received and it won many awards (including a Guggenheim Fellowship) and many exhibitions. I was able to invest a great deal of feeling in the tableaux. Working in parallel, with my photographs, drawing was important to me, contributing an esthetic and formal underpinning for my constructions. 

In 2013 my wife and I moved from Seattle to Yakima WA to live more cheaply and for the sunny climate. My main practice is now painting: in particular mixed media, wax, and collage on canvas glued to panels. I, also work with 3-d constructions using similar materials of the flat paintings and constructions that resulted as final product photographic prints.

Thematically, some of my present paintings are a response to my new life in a small town. The place has mysteries while being thoroughly mundane. It has expanded my horizons away from my life in Seattle. I’m seeing my art and that of others in a new and more inclusive way. 

My art and life are inseparable: there is no way that I can say this is my life and that is my art.

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