Artist Spotlight: S. P. Harper

S. P. Harper studio
Photo by Nicolett Electrar

What inspires you?
My work is intensely personal, inspired by a diamantaire (diamond-cutter) grandfather, and was formerly dismissed by many viewers and collectors who do not know the story and could not recognize the vision expressed in the pieces. Working in such a vacuum became difficult without public recognition. However through sheer perseverance, I have witnessed increasing understanding developing over time through art talks and interviews like this. My art continues influence me by influencing viewers to minimize waste, attracting collectors and securing international exhibitions.

How do you make the leap from an idea in your head to the action you produce?
Part of eco-centric art, aka neo-materialism, I sculpt and paint abstract geometrics using reclaimed materials, synthesizing historical and contemporary styles by mixing the classical tradition of still-life with modernism. Through reforming and re-employing elements, my work reduces, re-uses and up-cycles. The idea comes from collecting diverse media such as discarded wallpaper, tablecloth, curtain, metal, plastic and wood fragments. The action employes various disciplines including MIG welding, circular saw (with diamond blade!), table saw, jigsaw, sewing, oil and acrylic painting. My subject matter includes multi-faceted, reflective and enigmatic gemstone. This muse has become an ever continuing source of artistic expression, an engaging puzzle for me to solve. In finding artistic focus the beauty of geometrics together with my interest in cooling the planet fuse together.

377 Karat
Repurposed milk crate and wire, 24 x 22 x 22 inches

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
My art arose out of a deep concern for the future while observing the declining health of our world’s environment. Coming from a family of recyclers, we were more interested in repurposing rather than generating new material. Shrinking our carbon footprint became an inherited mantra. Actions such as volunteering for library-donated book sale fund raisers or beautifully tie-dying repurposed clothing and for resale provided inspiration, fomenting my artistic oeuvre. By placing the emphasis on recycling, this mission started an eco-centric journey of utilizing salvaged materials as the basis for my art. My work illuminates a path to diminishing excessive consumerism and has become especially motivating and popular with the generations who will inherit our world.

75,025 Karat
Repurposed steel, aluminum and door hinges, 24 x 24 x 24 inches

If you could change anything about the art world, what would it be?
My change to the art world would be to further the development of NFT art using clean crypto on Tezos or proof-of-stake Ethereum blockchains. This is a way to support artists though collecting with no carbon foot print. Exploring NFT minting employing crypto currency on the blockchain would seem to be an unavoidable risk to the contemporary artist having personally experienced loss through a hack. The meta-verse is a Wild West without regulation. Exposing the artist to future energy exploitive crypto currencies can be avoided with research and regulation to insure energy responsible NFT activity and safety.

‘Mahuika’ Round-cut Diamond
Acrylic on tablecloth salvage, 36 x 36 inches

What do you wish to accomplish with your art?
Through my didactic eco-centric practice my hope is to guide individuals, companies and governments to become more environmentally responsible. To start, my wish is to reform the art world by influencing artists, curators and directors of galleries, museums and art fairs to reduce their carbon footprint. Recycled materials are available for all artists to (re-)use. Curators should give more prominence to eco-centric art. Directors of museums and art fairs can reduce large scale exhibitions, saving on land and air travel including purchase and viewer imprints, further decreasing carbon burn. Constructing virtual solutions to view art will inspire artists and encourage more sustainable means of long-distance acquisition.

‘Hephaestus’ Brilliant-cut Diamond
Acrylic on tablecloth salvage, 36 x 36 inches

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