Graduating from Brighton University in 2015, printmaker and artist, Rose Electra Harris has established herself in the art world over the past couple of years. Stocked in Liberty and represented by Partnership Editions, her work is both striking and interesting, with her bold use of colour depicting dreamlike interiors from all over the world. Intricate patterns and decorative motifs feature in most of Rose’s work, each piece being brought to life through her striking use of colour and detail.
We visited Rose’s bright and airy South London studio in early August to chat about her work and what inspires her colourful creations. We spent the afternoon eating pastel de nata, fussing over Rose’s playful dog, Jabba and chatting about our favourite London haunts.
How did you come to be an artist & printmaker?
It was on my foundation course at City and Guilds in London where I came across printmaking. The tutor, Jason Hicklin was fantastic. At the time I was attracted to the privacy of printmaking, the thought and process that goes into it. It felt scientific and I loved that element to it. From then on, I knew I was more interested in learning the craft of printmaking, which is why I went on to studying it in Brighton.
You studied printmaking at university – did you know from a young age that you wanted to do something creative as a career?
I have a very creative family and was encouraged to spend a lot of time making things growing up. We had a shed in the garden which had a big old wooden kitchen table with drawers full of pastels and paints. I remember my sister and I spending a lot of time there as a child – it was our den. It wasn’t until secondary school that I really found my feet and I ended up spending the majority of my time in the art department at school. It was where I felt most comfortable with work and people alike.
What is the biggest inspiration for your work?
I find learning new processes of printmaking very inspiring. It gets my brain thinking of new ways of working and how I can manipulate ideas to fit certain processes. In terms of artists, I have recently fallen in love with an early painting by Patrick Heron, Interior with Garden Window 1955. It is very unlike his later work but the colours, the mark making, the composition are just unbelievably cool.
What is your biggest career achievement to date?
The satisfaction of doing my first solo show last year; I learnt a lot and I was really overwhelmed by the amount of people that came to see my work and its reception. I’d been putting it off for a while but now having done it, I realise it came at just the right time.
Do you have any favourite places in London?
Any favourite colour combinations?
Pink and red.
Are there any creatives that you take inspiration from for your work or that you particularly admire?
Recently in Mexico I worked at a printing studio called @dedalotg run by two fantastic artists, Enrique and Ale. Their enthusiasm that anything is possible in printmaking was so refreshing and incredibly inspiring. I also studied with my friend, artist Chica Seal in Brighton and continually find her work unquestionably beautiful.
What items on your desk could you not live without?
A book on Matisse, The Chapel at Vence. It’s been in my possession since 2013 and is a reminder that beauty is the most important thing when it comes to making art.
When you’re not working in your studio, what do you like doing?
One of the joys of having my dog, Jabba is that you are forced to go on a walk at least once a day so if I’m not in the studio, you are likely to find me rambling through London parks.
Are you reading anything right now?
I am currently reading ‘At the Pond, Swimming at the Hampstead Ladies’ Pond’ which is a collection of short stories by fourteen contemporary female writers on their own personal relationship with the Ladies Pond. One woman speaks of the Pond being a ‘welcoming space, it recognises the struggle, the daily struggle, the discrimination many women face in life’. Another woman describes it as ‘a perfect green grotto’.
What are your sustainability values? Does this tie in with your work at all?
Sustainability is something I am very conscious of and always trying to learn more about. As a printmaker, paper is my one luxury so it is important not to be wasteful.
What is your favourite Evermore scent and why?
I really like Flore. The scent is something slightly different and it’s not like many of the floral scents I’ve smelt in candles before. It’s much fresher and lighter but has a slight smokey undertone which I love. I also love the colour of the box it comes in – lilac is my colour of the moment.
Follow Rose on Instagram – @roseelectraharris
Visit her website – roseelectraharris.com