My work changed drastically one day in 2010 when I found myself creating surreal organic environments. I decided I didn’t feel like painting portraits anymore. Although I started from a place of abstraction, the new paintings became filled with strange hybrids of flowers, cells and symbols that appeared like organisms from another planet. It was only later that I found out I had cancer crawling through my body at an alarming rate. When my doctor showed me the scans of the tumor, it looked almost identical to what I had been painting, tentacles and all. I was told I had a rare 1% of all cancers and I was in serious trouble. My tumor felt like it was a part of me, it had its own set of nerves and feelings separate from the rest of my body. I wondered what those heads of the tentacles w...


This is Gassy again. I am back with this art work I produced seven years ago just to tell all of you that in all doubts in life, whether it is for a career move, a continent move, a new love, “Va dove ti porta il cuore,”  meaning “follow your heart.” Apply it to your life like an old romantic Italian prayer and read the awesome book by Susanna Tamaro “Follow Your Heart” which inspired this art work.     Author: Gassy Traore Email: Author Bio: My message to the world is “Follow your heart, Follow your dreams.” Link to social media or website:


Alex’s paintings are based on the traditional Southern urban landscapes and architecture that surround her in Charleston. Employing the dreamy color palette abundant in the Charleston environment, she contrasts these images with meticulous paint application. Through this exploration of architectural individuality proliferant in Charleston, she aims to encourage a thoughtful dialogue concerning Charleston’s historical significance, forgotten spaces in-between and the impact of gentrification. Alex graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Painting and Printmaking in 2012. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina and paints in her home studio. @alexwaggoner        


  Author: Jennifer B. Larson Email: Author Bio: Jennifer B. Larson is a special education teacher in Chicago Public Schools, a punk-rocker, writer and illustrator. She draws the comic strip “Emo Grrrls” and runs Disappearing Media. Check out their new card-game, Douchebag CEO. Link to social media or website:


Annie Haslam is the long-time lead singer of the symphonic rock band “Renaissance” that played sold out shows across the globe. She is known for her five-octave voice, recognizable in her band or solo career, and her incredible intuitive artwork. Annie sat down with Harness to talk about finding her career and overcoming obstacles to find herself. Annie, how did your journey begin? My journey began in 1947 in a smoky cotton mill town called Bolton in Lancashire.  We were a working-class family; I had two brothers, Michael and Keith, and Mum and Dad, Annie and George. I had a loving childhood with a few medical situations, but I came through okay except for an ongoing ear problem that I now live with and can deal with. …It’s a long story! My dad was an amateur comedian/singer as a hobby, bu...


When I was a young child, I would watch my grandmother and mother create beautiful dresses made of silk garments, warm sweaters from yarn and creative images from embroidery. Soon, they taught me how to create as well, passing down their passion for handcraft down to me. I remember the day my mother and I were crocheting. We were sitting quietly in our living room, classical Arabic music was playing in the background, we had some Arabic kleicha on our living room table (Arabic homemade cookies) and mint tea in a glass cup. The vibe was extremely soothing and relaxing. That day, she was teaching me how to make a scarf. We both had our own crochet hooks and yarn. Mine was red and hers was pink. She would start to create the base masks and I would watch and follow her lead. We wouldn’t speak ...


Birdcage is a continuation of my on-going work exploring the complex way in which our society views women and its relation to beauty. These mixed media pieces—employing wax pastel, chalk pastel, and acrylic— place idealized women in isolated, domestic environments, the bright colors and alluring surroundings helping to mask their confinement. With the renaissance of mid-century home décor, the furniture and plant life depicted challenge the viewer to question whether this is a scene from the 1950s or of modern times, further illuminating the recurring nature of a woman’s plight. While creating these works and incorporating furniture and plants from my home, I came to the realization that my own daily routine—hours spent in solitude working in my home studio—in some ways mirrored the isolat...


Sleeping Naked on Plastic Arriving in Bangkok with no money. At least, not enough to buy sheets for this small apartment. The waterproof mattress sticks to my skin so I cover it with silk scarves. I bundle some clothes into some other clothes for a lumpy pillow. I am so happy. Falling asleep naked. The window looks over the Chao Phraya River as the city moves and I dream of you. Little comfort is needed when you are 24 with love shimmering. ————————- 27 and Sometimes Concerned About Capitalism Otherwise thinking about love or food or myself. I met an Italian girl in Las Palmas and we were both confused about Spanish men. We drank cappuccinos every day at La Olive and talked, frustrated about these bastardos who stopped texting us back. The we...


Emily Black is a portrait and dance photographer who loves collaborating with other women to produce her work. Prior to starting her photography business, she worked in oil paint, ceramics, and basket making. “I was definitely a solitary artist,” she says. “I would go into my studio with an idea and torture myself until it was done. I didn’t realize how lonely it was.” Now, however, her artwork is collaborative. She works with portrait clients, makeup artists and dancers to bring a shared vision to life. “I love photographing dancers because they make such beautiful shapes. I’m a sculptor deep down,” she says. “Shooting a dancer is like photographing a sculpture. I have control of the lighting and I can design the best presentation for the camera, ...


I adored my grandmother. She was a very strong woman who loved nature, birds and Emily Dickinson poetry. As an artist, her love of these things has had a great impact on me. Even though I created this piece several years ago, it still holds a special place in my heart. This snippet of Emily Dickinson poetry included in the work holds true today. In telling our story as women, there may be pain and discomfort, but there is also hope that lives on inside us. It may be muted and pushed down at times, but I believe it is always there in some form. I’ve been asked why I usually only depict women. I would have to say that there is a kindred spirit and strength that ties us all together, and I hope to showcase that in the pieces of art that I create. Valerie Lorimer     Author: Valerie ...


Art is more to me than a paintbrush touching a piece of paper or a canvas. It starts from within. It starts with something, for me usually a feeling that you just need to get out. This feeling can at times be very hard to define, but I believe the common denominator always is the wish to touch someone’s heart, to speak to their inner core without uttering a word. Art can do just that. It speaks across borders, gender, race and religion. The world often wants to teach that being creative should encompass all these rules and regulations and a certain way to go about things. My feeling is that some of the joy of creating has been taken away in doing so. And it doesn’t gel very well with my outlook on art. Art should be fun. It should make you let go, dream and fantasize about greater things o...


Johanna Ekström for Harness Magazine When I illustrate, my main source of inspiration is the female body, and what kinds of expressions are considered beautiful, or even accepted, for women. I want to create a visualisation of girls and women that is a wider representation of bodies, and my dream is to inspire and empower all women, no matter their background.                                                 Author: Johanna Ekström Email:

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