The art world can be a very daunting place, especially if you’re in New York City. There are surprisingly few places in New York that provide opportunities for young artists to show their work. Even with the resources that are available, exhibiting anywhere in this big city is a hard earned privilege.
This was no different for artist and illustrator Harrison Love, who won a Scholastic Art & Writing Award in 2004. Looking for the right opportunity to exhibit his work without feeling the bite of a gallery’s commission or percentage was no easy task. After looking for a year, Harrison was starting to become discouraged by the long wait list and huge commission percentage of galleries around the city.
Then, in the winter of 2011, there was finally a sign of light at the end of the tunnel. From December 13 – 20, Harrison had his work exhibited in the annual open call for artists at The Greenpoint Gallery, an artist-run art and music venue in Brooklyn, NY. There were over 200 paintings in the show from over 30 participating artists. Amongst the staggering collection of artwork, Harrison’s work stood out and was selected to receive a first place prize, a working residency at the gallery, and a solo show in the spring of 2012.
Check out our interview with him as well as a slideshow of the opening night of his solo show below!
Congratulations on your first solo show in NYC! What was this experience like for you? “I’ve exhibited all over the world, mostly when I was traveling. I just seemed to always find a place for my work. But, when I came to New York, every door was barred and carefully guarded. I didn’t know where to turn. After a year, I finally caught my break at The Greenpoint Gallery and was floored by the response! I got lucky.”
How is exhibiting in New York different from elsewhere in the world? “It seems like most artists in the city start out exhibiting wherever they can, showing their work in group or salon shows at galleries that take a percentage from the sale of the work. This is the beginning of an uphill battle for young artists. In other parts of the country there are galleries and museums that are easier to access and more welcoming to young professionals. I think it is naïve to start an art career in New York and put all of your eggs in one basket. NYC is a very full and expensive basket.”
How has your show at The Greenpoint Gallery changed your work? “It is very rare for a young and emerging artist to have a solo show in NYC. It is almost like, now, everyone has seen what I am capable of and is eager to see what will come next. I have drawn the attention of the bigger collectors and galleries, and now, I think that I have more responsibility as an artist than I’ve ever had before.”
What advice would you give to young artists looking to get into the art scene in New York City? “Don’t ever be discouraged. Nothing ever works out the way we fantasize. Your career will start slowly, and in a small way. But it will grow as long as you keep learning from each experience and from the other artists you will come in contact with in the process.”
To learn more about Harrison Love, visit: www.harrisonlove.com
You can also see his current project and support it online at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hlove/pahasqa-nan-the-hidden-way