<ul><li>Charley Harper was a south - western Ohio American Modernist artist . He was best well known for his wildlife and nature prints, posters and book style. </li></ul><ul><li>He was born in Frenchton, West Virginia in 1922, Harper's upbringing on his family farm.He left his farm home to study art at the Art Academy of Cincinnati , and won the academy’s first Stephen H . Wilder Traveling Scholarship . While at the Academy, and supposedly on the first day, Charley met fellow artist Edie Mckee, whom he would marry shortly after graduation in 1947. </li></ul><ul><li>Charley Harper returned to the Art Academy of Cincinnati as a teacher and also worked for a commercial firm before working on his own . He and his wife worked out of their Roselawn and Finneytown homes, and later, with their only child Brett Harper, formed Harper Studios . </li></ul><ul><li>Charley Harper died on Sunday, June 10 , 2007 after contending with pneumonia for some months . </li></ul>.
Style <ul><li>In a style he called " minimal realism " , Charley Harper captured the essence of his subjects with the fewest possible visual elements . When asked to describe his unique visual style, Charley responded : </li></ul><ul><li>He contrasted his nature-oriented artwork with the realism of John James Audubon and most importantly the simplicity from Inuit Art such as Kenojuak Ashevak , drawing influence from Cubism , Minimalism , Einsteinian physics and countless other developments in Modern art and science. His style distilled and simplified complex organisms and natural subjects, yet they are often arranged in a complex fashion . </li></ul><ul><li>The results are bold, colorful, and often whimsical . The designer Todd Oldham wrote of Harper, " Charley’s inspired yet accurate color sense is undeniable, and when combined with the precision he exacts on rendering only the most important details, one is always left with a sense of awe . Charley, on numerous examples, also went outside the medium of graphic art and included short prose poems for the artwork he made . </li></ul>
His Contribution <ul><li>Charley Harper illustrated numerous books, notably The Golden Book of Biology , magazines such as Ford Times , as well as many prints, posters, and other works . As his subjects are namely natural, with birds prominently featured, Charley often created works for many nature - based organizations, among them the National Park Service ; Cincinnati Zoo ; Cincinnati Nature Center; Hamilton County ( Ohio ) Park District; and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania . He also designed interpretive displays for Everglades National Park . </li></ul>
Honors <ul><li>In honor of Charley Harper's work, December 8 , 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>was declared "Charley Harper Day" by the mayor of Cincinnati: </li></ul><ul><li>CHARLEY HARPER DAY: DECEMBER 8 BY MAYORAL PROCLAMATION </li></ul>
Be It Proclaimed: <ul><li>Whereas, the brilliantly rich, colorful paintings, prints and illustrations made by artist Charley Harper have delighted Cincinnatians and art lovers around the world since the 1940 s; and </li></ul><ul><li>Whereas, Charley Harper began his illustrious 60- year career as an artist when he attended The Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he later taught and inspired younger artists; and </li></ul><ul><li>Whereas, his bold, stylized images of natural scenes and his whimsical representations of animals have contributed to Charley Harper’s vision of "protecting and preserving nature;" and </li></ul><ul><li>Whereas, a new generation of contemporary graphic artists have been moved and inspired by Charley Harper’s simplified, beautiful imagery and his visionary imagination; and </li></ul>
<ul><li>Whereas, Charley Harper’s friendship and mentorship of graphic artist Todd Oldham have inspired the Contemporary Arts Center to exhibit works pairing Cincinnati’s mid-century modernist pioneers and contemporary peers in a 15- month exhibition entitled "Graphic Content: Contemporary and Modern/Art and Design;" and </li></ul><ul><li>Whereas, Todd Oldham describes Charley Harper’s work as "a marvel, brilliant in a way I had never seen before," possessing a "lyrically joyous style," "a remarkable and exquisite color sense" and writes that "Charley’s inspired yet accurate color sense is undeniable, and when combined with the precision he exacts on rendering only the most important details, one is always left with a sense of awe,“ </li></ul><ul><li>Now, Therefore, I, Mark Mallory, Mayor of the City of Cincinnati do hereby proclaim Friday, December 8 , 2006 as CHARLEY HARPER DAY in Cincinnati. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2003 , the Sharonville Fine Arts Council awarded Harper a Lifetime Achievement Award. </li></ul>
<ul><li>I love Charles Harper's work, not only for the obvious aesthetic reasons, but also because his work focuses so much on the natural world ; wildlife . </li></ul>