Whitehot Magazine

Happy Happy Joy Joy: Hillary Harrison Debuts at NYC's Van Der Plas Gallery with a Stand-Out Solo Show

Installation view 2020, Hillary Harrison, Happy Happy Joy Joy,
Van Der Plas Gallery, New York, NY


Hillary Harrison
Happy Happy Joy Joy

Van Der Plas Gallery, New York, NY
(phone gallery for Xmas hours)
December 19th - January 17th 2020

By NOAH BECKER December, 2020

Mississippi born, Cupertino based painter Hillary Harrison has a solo show at New York City’s Van Der Plas Gallery on the Lower East Side. After living in Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles, Harrison has spent the last few years in her California studio putting together a stunning must-see exhibition. Whitehot asked Harrison a few questions about “Happy Happy Joy Joy,” her debut in NYC.

Noah Becker: Where are you from?

Hillary Harrison: I'm from Tilden Mississippi; it’s 15 minutes south of Tupelo Mississippi where Elvis was born. It’s one hour away from Oxford, MI where William Faulkner is from - It’s also around two hours from Memphis TN…

Hillary Harrison performing in Tokyo with her band Kafka.

Becker: What was it like growing up there?

Harrison: It was very fruitful for what would later transpire with my art. I had the desire to travel around the world and ended up making art in major cities like New York and Tokyo - but my home town always plays a part and influences me.

Installation view, Hillary Harrison, Happy Happy Joy Joy,Van Der Plas Gallery, New York, NY.

Becker: At what age did you get into art?

Harrison: My earliest memory of painting was finger painting from the age of two. My family is a very creative group of artists and crafters. So I come by my color sense and my interest in modern art through my upbringing in the south. It's just something that I have inherent within that I basically just tap into. However, when I do feel stuck occasionally I look on Instagram, but mainly at color schemes on quilts, fabrics and fashion.

Hillary Harrison, Pearl Power, Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas, 2020

Hillary Harrison, Min. after Min., Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas, 36” x 36”

Hillary Harrison, Venus Coin, 2020, Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas. 43" x 45"

Hillary Harrison, Gangsters Paradise, Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas, 36” x 36”

Hillary Harrison, Champion, Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas. 24" x 30"

Hillary Harrison, Hr. After Hr., 2020, Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas.

Becker: Who is your favorite artist and why?

Harrison: Well of course I love the whole Warhol, Basquiat pop art scene. One artist I've always liked a lot is Jessica Stockholder - I just really enjoy her installations and the colors she uses. I find her work very nostalgic in a way.

Becker: Your art is very 3-D, do you think you'll ever do sculpture in addition to painting?

Harrison: Yes I actually have been thinking about just doing sculpture a lot recently. I need to figure out what it is I'm going to make? Or perhaps I shouldn't think so much and just do it…

Becker: Do you think that all the different places you've lived has inspired your work and how so?

Harrison: Yes very much so. Living in NYC, CA, Tokyo, these larger fast paced cities definitely made my work way more vibrant and fresh than what it used to be. Tokyo has such a fresh energy it's insane what a great energy the city and its people have! I love the years I spent there. WM


Noah Becker

Noah Becker is an artist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine. He shows his paintings internationally at museums and galleries. Becker also plays jazz saxophone. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010). Becker's new album of original music "Mode For Noah" was released in 2023. 


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Email: noah@whitehotmagazine.com

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