Harry B. Chandler

Harry B. Chandler

Artist Statement


Hard to define but I know it when I see it. Whether in my painting, my photographs, my sculpture, those works that I collect, or just in life, I want to surround myself with beautiful images, things, people and landscapes.

Three passions inform my artistic pursuit.

Magic, photos/film, and technology.

My first purchase as a boy was a camera. My first non-sports extracurricular activity was to perform magic for friends and family. And I have always been fascinated and tinkered with gadgets that plug-in.

My prestidigitation skills are long dormant but my love of the wonderment of illusions and worlds different than they seem has drawn me into magic realism in art, literature, photography and film. Rousseau, Gauguin, Magritte, Kahlo, Garcia Marquez, Uelsmann, Fellini, Cocteau.

At high school at Andover, I discovered black and white photography. Strong compositions, the smell of the darkroom. Yet I wanted to create more dream-like images than journalistic. And with color. So I turned to painting after college. And movie-making in my media career. I made eight 35mm movies for network television. Still photography reentered my life in the 90’s when Photoshop and a digital SLR arrived.

As an adult, I two more themes.  L.A. landscapes. And female beauty.  I grew up and live in L.A. My family has been here for 5 generations. Bright lights and saturated colors. So my palette has been influenced by the high chroma and warm tones here. They speak of optimism and passion to me. Forget Picasso’s blue period. I am moved by boldness of the Fauvists (Matisse especially), Rothko’s oranges and magentas, Hockney’s turquoise swimming pools and his more recent high chroma Yorkshire forests.

My love of LA has also meant being influenced by its people, places and history. My first big photo project was about its people. Dreamers in Dream City. 60 portraits of our most inspirational citizens, past and present.

Then I tackled a painting a series called Autopia, inventing mythical Southern California landscapes where the pictorial splashes of colors representing agricultural fields of the 1920s co-exist with aerial photos of the curvy freeway interchanges of today. Beauty meets magic realism meets photography meets saturated colors. At least, that is what I am trying for.

Simultaneously, I embarked on a series about ultra-beautiful women. It has gender politics, biological urges and humor.  First up is a large multi-media sculpture, Magnetic Sirens. Next is a work called Trophy Wives.  And I have been exploring digital side-by-side digital portraiture through a series called Pairings.

My art is getting more varied, more personal….and hopefully more compelling.  I moved into a big new studio in DTLA. Stay tuned.  The spigot has been opened up now that I am in my third-act.