Samuel Harrison is a London based artist and fashion illustrator whose ethereal works caught the eyes of Nick Knight and SHOWstudio. They’re not the only fans, here at Art Zealous we love his fashion illustrations because they are elegant and focus on an otherworldly sense of beauty.
Samuel’s studio is essentially a large converted attic in South London. It’s cluttered with paper and art materials, a main desk where he does the majority of his art, and a big drawing table that houses a stack of finished illustrations. A gorgeous exposed brick wall serves as the perfect canvas for white paint, with sprinkles of inspiration in the form of fabric and compositions scattered about.
When Samuel is not working on his illustrations, he’s studying for a degree in Fine Art at the Chelsea College of Art.
AZ caught up with Samuel in between projects to chat everything art and fashion.
Art Zealous: Art background?
Samuel Harrison: Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Central Saint Martins, Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art at the Chelsea College of Art.
AZ: Favorite art spot in London?
SH: Constantly changing, however currently it’s the incredibly beautiful Leighton House Museum in Holland Park because of its current Alma Tadema exhibition, it’s a must see!
AZ: Dream travel destination?
SH: I’m very excited to be going to Versailles at the start of December which visually should give me lots of inspiration. I’ve also always wanted to explore somewhere like Columbia so maybe that’ll be next!
AZ: Favorite piece in your closet?
SH: An 80’s leather jacket I spray painted a very bright silver.
SH: I’m currently taking huge inspiration from Baroque oil paintings of fruit because of its intricacy and detailed scenes of excess. However, I’ve always loved the use of fabrics within Ancient Greek statues such as the East Pediment of the Parthenon in Athens on show at the British Museum. I think it’s fascinating how the sculptors were able to capture draped fabric’s sense of fluidity in contrast to the static human body and even the use of stone being a contradiction to this flexibility.
AZ: Go-to museum?
SH: My all-time favourite is the Victoria & Albert which I visit regularly. It has such a huge collection so every single time I go there, I discover something new.
AZ: Your fashion illustrations focus on otherworldly sense of beauty – what other themes do you draw in these pieces?
SH: I’m really fascinated with the idea of giving material and fabric its own life. As if the garment itself is alive and dancing around the human figure in a virtuoso sense of movement. So I guess I’m really concerned with this balance between fabrics own sense of body, as well as a counteracting element of weightlessness.
AZ: Who has been your favorite designer to work with & why?
SH: Rather than a designer, my favourite fashion figure to work with is photographer Nick Knight. What he’s achieved in championing, supporting and encouraging fashion illustration in the industry through his SHOWstudio is amazing, and every project I’m involved in is exciting and engaging.
AZ: Dream collaboration & why?
SH: Dream collaboration would be working with a brand like Balenciaga. I love the history attached to the iconic fashion house and how in its origins have always appreciated draped fabric, like in the Balenciaga fall 1958 photographs by Tom Kublin in comparison to their recent spring 2017 campaign -both having drapery as an important visual.
AZ: What is your creative process for drawing something that will ultimately be designed and wearable?
SH: For something to be wearable there has to be a tiny element of reality to it. I don’t think this should ever take away from it also being completely ridiculous and ambitious. A bit of fantasy is good for you.
AZ: If you could design a piece for a specific person dead or alive, who would it be?
SH: Madame de Pompadour
AZ: How do you think fashion and art influence each other?
SH: I don’t think you can separate the two, I genuinely believe they are both extensions of each other and intertwine, complement and enhance one another. I think they both embody a feeling, whatever that feeling may be.
AZ: What is the process like to work with specific designers’ for their seasonal campaigns or lines?
SH: It relies a lot on the brief and the idea behind a project. Sketching and doodles are a great start.
AZ: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
SH: I’m currently working on leather, for something quite different which I’ll hopefully be posting about this week so keep a look out for that on my Instagram. I’m really excited to show you guys!
Follow Samuel on Instagram.
all images // courtesy of the artist