Artist of the Month 2018

September: Rodney Harris

Image: Rodney Harris and Valda Jackson, Washing Line. Shield Retail Centre, Filton, Bristol.

Our Artist of the Month feature aims to promote artists' work and raise issues in a quick, informal way. September's Artist of the Month is Rodney Harris.

Hello, what do you do?

Hello, my name is Rodney Harris, I am a sculptor and printmaker.


Where are you based?

I am based at Spike Island in Bristol and I have been in my current studio for about ten years. I mainly work in my studio but also at home, and depending on the project, anywhere suitable. I love the process of thinking, researching and making new work so I always have an eye on new projects and ideas.


What’s the best thing about the area you live/work in?

Geologically the area I live in has high quality clay deposits that provide a low cost and sustainable resource for my work. I love my studio at Spike Island. It's ground floor with great light, access and with a good mix of people around; I guess it’s why I have been there so long and spend most of my time there.


What does 'success' mean to you?

Choices, influence, the ability to say no, and a fat cheque!


Do you earn a living from making art? If not, or only partially, what else do you do?

My main source of income is from my collaboration with artist Valda Jackson. We work on public sculpture commissions for new buildings and recently won the Marsh Award for excellence in Public Sculpture for four brick reliefs at Peabody St Johns Hill, London. I also work as a mould maker and specials modeller for Ibstock Building Products. I occasionally sell prints and I am also a specialist early years artist working with pre-school children and training teachers on how to use clay in education.


What makes a good artwork?

A good artwork may contain some or all of the following: curiosity, sensuality, beauty, humour, quality, and is enlightening, unexpected and magic… all subjective.


What have you been up to recently?

I have been working on the design phase for three sculpture commissions for relief sculptures in Camden, Clapham and Didcot.

Following the Leverhulme artist residency in Earth Sciences at Bristol University I have helped to establish a new gallery there called EarthArt, and we are developing a new programme that focuses on six-monthly residencies followed by an exhibition.

My print, "A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales with parts of Scotland, Ireland and France", has been used as a book cover for Cornerstones, edited by Mark Smalley and published by Little Toller Books.

I am also working on a new series of prints.


What have you got coming up?

I am about to begin carving a five-metre high relief sculpture of a theatre curtain that covers the elevation of a new building. It’s a bit of a risk as the scale of the work is new for me, but isn’t that what artists are supposed to do?



Rodney Harris (b.1966 Weston-super-Mare) is a Sculptor and Printmaker. He studied BA (Hons) Ceramics in Bristol and MA Ceramics in Cardiff.

He has been commissioned by a range of public and private organisations including Peabody, Royal Marines, Ibstock Building Products, Berkeley Homes, Liverpool University, Sainsbury’s and Bristol City Council.

His work has been shown in World Ceramic Biennale, South Korea, Latvian International Ceramics Biennial, and Turkish International Terracotta Symposium.

He has been a Trustee on the Board of Directors of Spike Island Bristol, is a Director of Spike Print Studio, member of Bristol University Earth Sciences Arts Council and is on the Advisory Board for Knowle West Children’s Centre.

He was the Leverhulme Artist in Residence at Bristol University 2015. He has a long-term collaboration with artist Valda Jackson. His recent work has strong environmental and social themes.



What's On

Family Saturdays

Aspex Gallery, The Vulcan, PO1 3BF

Monday 01 October 2018 – Thursday 31 October 2019

Craft Workshops

Various Venues

Friday 08 February 2019 – Tuesday 31 December 2019

Jon England: Hour Hands

Market House Museum, 32 Swain St, Watchet TA23 0AD

Wednesday 27 March 2019 – Friday 08 November 2019

Visual Arts South West

Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network

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