William Harman

Age: 23
Location: London
Education: University of Brighton (BA Hons Fine Art Painting)

Humour is at the heart of Harman’s practice. His paintings are fun. Drawing from his experience and cultural heritage, he creates purposely kitsch scenes that are recognisable and accessible. Using gatherings such as birthday parties, family events, nights out and the regulars at the local as a starting point, Harman fills his canvases with stiff and awkward characters, in his twisted visual diary, composed with a painterly crudeness for the viewer to confront and enjoy, as he navigates the course between realism and the surreal.

Submitted work

Title: Pulutan 1

Title: Grace Before Meals

About the work
‘Pulutan 1’: Pulutan comes from the Filipino word pulot, meaning “to pick up.” It’s typically finger food or food that can be eaten easily while drinking, and is shared among everyone at the table. ‘Pulutan 1’, refers to a story from Harman’s mother’s childhood in the Philippines. After a thunderstorm when she was very young, she discovered that her Uncle Arthur had put on a massive feast with a table full of food and drinks. After a night of celebration and indulgence it emerged that Uncle Arthur had used her adopted dog, ‘Blackie,’ as the main feature which she had unknowingly eaten.

‘Grace Before Meals,’ captures the hectic serving of meals at Scout camps. (Many of Harman’s paintings draw on his experiences as a Scout leader). Standing at the head of the table, supporting the foible socks and sliders, a member of the HQ gestures to his forehead trying to initiate grace. Three ‘sprogs,’ (boys who haven’t attended a summer camp) precariously serve up the main meal, cooked by the patrol beforehand, while the P/L (Patrol Leader) insecurely handles the orange squash. All the while two boys share a deliberate glance, realising their initially well-mannered meal is slowly descending into chaos.