EB Loves... In Conversation with Harlie Briggs

Introducing: EB Loves! Our latest interview series, giving you an insight into the creative lives of some of our favourite #EBGirls that inspire us here at #EBHQ!

This month we caught up with London-based artist Harlie Briggs, whose unique work focuses on abstract nature pieces, abstract nude pieces and upcycling vases. She gave us a low-down on her background, what inspires her and why she loves to celebrate the female form in all its glory.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work.

Hey! I’m Harlie Briggs, I'm 27 and I paint my life away from my flat in North London. I paint abstract nature pieces, abstract nude pieces and I up-cycle vases by painting nudes onto them.

My background isn’t as creative as you’d think. I studied Biological Sciences and Psychology at university and then trained to become a Primary School Teacher. Although I really bonded with this job and the children that I taught, it wasn’t creative enough for me. So… I took the plunge and quit my job after 3 wonderful years. After this, I worked in Fashion and also supply teaching, leaving one or two days a week to spend dedicated time on my art.

My work is a mixture of commissions, new creative ideas and collections of my own. I tend to get new ideas as I’m walking around in nature, and at obscenely late times at night. I write ideas down as notes on my phone so whenever I’m not feeling inspired I just go back to them and see what I have a play around with! Most of my ideas tend to happen by mistake, which I do not mind at all! I never know what is going to come out onto my page sometimes.

What and who has inspired you to be an artist?

Artists such as Jenny Saville and Monet inspired me to be an artist. I quite simply wanted to do what I enjoyed, every day! Looking into a Monet painting transports me into my dream world. For my paintings, I find inspiration from the people and the world around me – taking walks deep into nature really inspires my nature programmes, and meeting strong and beautiful souled women who I eventually paint.

What’s your favourite medium to work with and how often do you experiment with different styles and techniques?

My favourite medium is oil paint. I love how forgiving it is and how you can work on it for days without it drying up; this leaves lots of time to make changes and play around with a painting.

How has your creative process changed during lockdown?

With more time on my hands, it has meant that I can paint every hour of every day! I now work from home, which has been a big change and also a challenge. Having my studio at home means I struggle sometimes to differentiate between work and personal time. This can be both a beautiful and a conflicting thing for me. It is beautiful in a way because I see my art as me. But this also causes me to take responses to my work very personally, as it is a piece of me.

You’ve achieved so much as an artist over the last couple of years, what have you been most proud of and what have you learnt in the process?

When I think of what I'm most proud of, I tend to search for a 'big' thing, but it is actually the small moments that make me feel proud. Such as every time an order comes through on my email or every time somebody sends me a message about how happy they are with their piece of art.

A lot of your work really centralises and celebrates the female body. Is this empowerment something that’s important to you?

Celebrating women and the female form is very important to me because it gives women a voice and makes them feel confident in their own skin. I also celebrate the female form because society decides not to most of the time.

As an artist who supports women around you, who is your biggest role model?

My biggest role model is my mother. She really has pushed me to follow my dreams! She always wanted me to go to art school, but I said that I wanted to get a 'proper job'. I don’t regret my journey but I do regret not following my dreams sooner, or not seeing in me what my mother did and not believing in me like my mother did. She is a true gem.

And lastly- if you could give one piece of advice to your younger self (or any aspiring young female artists!) what would it be?

Draw what you see, do not compare yourself to others as you are on your own journey and DON'T GIVE UP when you face setbacks!