Growing up in the Southern Oklahoma countryside, Hannah Harper was encouraged to pursue creativity at a young age. She collected art education from various sources as a child, until at 17, she took a workshop with artists John and Terri Moyers at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
The notable couple soon took her under their wing and have mentored her ever since. They encouraged her to take workshops with charcoal master Ned Jacob in both Scottsdale, Arizona and Jackson Hole, Wyoming and a semester at the Ryder Studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Harper graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2019 with a BFA in studio art and is a current MFA candidate for painting at the University of Oklahoma. Norman, Oklahoma is where she calls home.
From a young age, I was drawn to animals. I grew up next door to my grandparents’ farm where I formed friendships with the farm life around me. Being a shy and introverted child, I found comfort in my relationships with animals and often was more inclined to spend my time with chickens or goats rather than with my human peers.
In my current work, I am most interested in digging down and remembering how I perceived the animals of my youth and translating those memories to stories on canvas or paper. Preserving the innocence and purity of the relationships and conversations between animals seen through the eyes of a child- or anyone with the curiosity and wonder of a child- is of utmost importance to me. I am constantly seeking whimsicality in my subjects and strive to communicate lightheartedness. By utilizing flattened backgrounds and natural elements as design tools, I hope to set a stage of sorts for the cast of characters as well as encourage a storyline through the use of titles. Imagining the conversations the individuals might be having brings me joy; my wish is to offer the viewer a brief respite in our daily human relationships that can often feel so heavy and encourage them to instead ponder what words might be exchanged between a moose or a bear.