Born in San Antonio, Marshall K. Harris spent his childhood growing up in various cities and states across the United States while his father was in the armed forces. Harris received his BFA in Graphic Design from Texas Christian University in 1979, when he was drafted by the NFL (1979) by the New York Jets. He was traded to the Cleveland Browns in 1980 and played professionally for 6 years (Cleveland Browns 80-83, New England Patriots 83, and New Jersey Generals USFL 84-85). Upon retiring from professional athletics Harris followed his BFA degree as an Advertising Art Director, Marketing Manager, Museum Curator, Graphics Developer, and Exhibit Designer for nationally recognized corporations, science museums, zoos, and aquaria. Some of Harris’s design work includes exhibitions at the National Zoo in Antwerp Belgium and the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium in Taiwan. He also created educational interactive displays for several US aquaria and science museums.
After experiencing the World Trade Tower attacks on 9.11.01 firsthand in New York City, Harris decided to change directions. He enrolled in the University of the Arts in Philadelphia PA MFA program in 2007 and received his MFA in sculpture in 2010. Moving back to his Texas hometown of Fort Worth in 2010, Harris began his full-time studio practice.
Since then he has developed a unique photorealistic drawing style and an active professional practice. He exhibits his work nationally and his works are held in numerous corporate and private collections. Marshall Harris lives in Fort Worth with his wife, journalist/author June Naylor Harris. Along with his studio practice, Marshall teaches Foundational Drawing classes at his alma mater, Texas Christian University.
My main and current body of work presents large, meticulously detailed photo realism, which are graphite-on-Mylar drawings.
I create works to initiate a conversation with the viewer. That exchange can be as simple as slowing their gaze long enough to investigate the painstaking technique of the process. What they might interpret as a photograph is actually a drawing – a drawing designed to focus attention on nuances of detail so often overlooked. The crack in the leather or scar on the skin, are all replicated because those flaws reflect part of the narrative and history of the whole. (Saddle portraits and nudes, in particular.)
Other works can be layered with queries not realized until much later in the viewer’s mind, like when they are driving home and get the, “Oh, that’s what that was all about!” moment. Cerebral revelations bring meaning to the apparently mundane. (Art Speak Series, Books without Pictures series, and An homage to John Walker series for example.)
Some works are intentionally created to suck the air from the room. Works that do not play nice and demand your attention. Works that refuse to be ignored. (Magdalene, Onslaught, and The Burden of Honoring One’s Father come to mind.)
My intense inspection and presentations are meant to afford the viewer an opportunity to stop and realize life’s imperfections as hidden stories…. I see them as beautiful and important to the whole.