It will be no surprise to regular readers that I’m a fan of Sydney Harris, the UK artist and colour theorist!
I first heard about him on my art foundation course, mentioned in the same breath as Kandinsky and Itten, and I fell in love with his paintings full of playful experiments with colour and shape. He was pretty the academic in his approach to his work and rarely exhibited as a commercial artist, although contributed cover artwork to many books and papers about colour and colour theory including the fab Colour: why the world isn’t grey by Hazel Rossotti
Sydney’s early work was quite realistic and figurative but colour alway played a huge part and during the war he began producing small gouache paintings where he started to play with abstract shapes and the way colours interact. His first true colour theory work dates from 1965 when he became increasingly focused on:
“how colours react to each other, the effects of contrast, complementaries, discords, mach banding, mixing and complementary tingeing.”
I’ve recently, and excitedly, discovered that you can now get your hands on his work as prints, cards and notebooks, available via Not On The High Street or Culture Label. Here are a few of my favourites:
Stay tuned for more Design Love posts about artists and designers whose colourful work catches my eye!