Artist Interview: Raven Harper

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How long have you been an artist? Did you start in childhood?
Well, when I was 16 I started doing more artwork (drawing) and people told me I should be an artist…and I am!

What is the earliest artwork you can remember making?
The first place I remember making art was at the foster home when I was 5 or 6. That’s when I also learned Spanish.

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What do you most like about your medium? Painting and ceramics in particular?
I love to make stuff that is artwork inspired by African American traditions and leaders as well as African inspired objects, e.g., shields, bow + arrows, dolls, bowls, quilts. I love designs, patterns and colors.

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Do you like to experiment with different mediums? What medium would you like to work with in the future?
I like ceramics, fiber arts, and painting. I would like to make 2 more African dolls and a quilt with African American celebrities that have passed away.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations? Other artists, important figures or people in your life?
Really my home administrator and her husband both inspire me for their art that they place (often African) in their home and the music he plays. Favorite rapper/singers are Tupac Shakur, Whitney Houston. Maya Angelou. And our aide Terri creates dolls with African themes.

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How do they inspire you to create?
I look at a lot of art and note how different objects, artworks are.

Have you exhibited before? How does this show feel different or similar to previous shows?
I looked around the exhibition and found my art stood out. I was proud. People told me they liked my work and to keep up the good work, to keep going.

All photos by Timothy Andrew Photography

The exhibition DIS/PLAY will be on view until April 23.

About the Author:
Elena Gross is a CCA Extern for SOMArts Cultural Center and a graduate student in the Visual & Critical Studies program at California College of the Arts