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"Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you have one."
Stella Adler (1901 - 1922), American actress

I have always believed that all artists have an “itch”. That itch represents everything that he or she does not understand, cannot cope with, and refuses to accept. The world fails to make sense – so the artist tries to make sense of it, correct it, or obliterate it. The world is the itch, and the itch needs to be scratched. The creator’s art is an attempt to scratch that itch.

So, what are my itches? As a Black artist, I yearn for peace amongst the races. But, I am pretty sure that fantasy will never happen. Therefore, I paint faceless people, most of the time, in my effort to erase race – at least, in my art. People can be brown or yellow or red…but they can also be blue or purple or green. There are no races in my figurative abstraction art, and, in the words of Prince – “I like it like that.”

As a male artist, I crave the joining of the genders - two equal entities coming together to create one incredible whole. I adore women – I grew up thinking that they were, by far, the superior gender - and that is why I draw and paint them, mainly. There is no more beautiful muse than women – both inside and out. However, I have lived long enough to realize that most of the women that I have met are not really interested in peace or equality (notice that I am not saying “Women are not interested…” since that would be all-inclusive, misogynist, stupid, and just plain wrong - and I can’t stand chauvinism in either the male or female form…). Most of the women, whom I have met, unfortunately, are interested only in hateful revenge, in word and deed, to "make up" for eons of male oppression. Much of my art deals with my love of women. Some of my art deals with my bitter disappointment in many women, because they have decided that “equality” means committing the same mistakes that many (not all) men have made. Remember, “hate” is not the opposite of “love”…indifference is. And anything – or anyone - that you love can become something – or someone – that you hate. All it takes is the right stimulus. For me, in regards to women, physical beauty, intelligence, emotional expression, and love inspire paintings of love. However, blatant, unrepentant, and unforgiving ignorance about “all men” - misandry, better known as male-bashing – inspire works of hate.

As an American artist, I have the idea that beauty comes in many different forms….I am just not agreed with, that often. Therefore, I draw and paint women who come in many different sizes – plus-sized beauty, female-bodybuilder beauty, and even (at times) the "skinny-minnie" beauty of which the world seems so fond. I get scoffs, from men AND women, if my depictions of beauty do not fit THEIR idea of beauty. I hear and understand the scoffs...I just refuse to change my depictions of beauty because of it.

These are the itches that my drawings and paintings are endeavoring to scratch…and I have a lot more scratching to do.


Jeffrey Harris

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