Meet Brittany “Bee” Harris, a talented digital illustrator and eclectic creator who uses her statement-making art to give a voice to her important social justice and advocacy work.
This month we had the opportunity to ask Bee a few questions about her art.
What inspired your collaborative collection with A&O?
Not only did this collection challenge me to step outside of the art style I am used to creating, it was also a chance for me to be a part of diversifying Archer and Olive’s journal collection. When I found out that a portion of the proceeds would be donated to a Black woman owned arts organization (feel free to enter the name), I was sold. I’m honored to work with a company like Archer and Olive and knowing that my work is going toward a positive cause makes it that much better.
What is the meaning or significance behind some of the elements in this collection, such as the patterns, colors, textures, and beyond?
For this journal collection I really wanted to combine my style of using bold colors, abstract shapes, and charismatic characters with Archer and Olive’s use of patterns and floral designs. Most of my personal work features Black women so I wanted to stay true to that, but I also wanted to create a group of designs that were versatile enough for any person, regardless of their style or background. The collection features striking designs that range from sophisticated to playful, and everything in between. It felt good to create the design that highlights the Black woman because personally, I’ve never seen us represented in this way.
How would you define your style of artistry? How has it evolved over time?
I would define myself as a digital illustrator. I create all of my work in Adobe Illustrator without the use of a tablet. This is how I learned to use the program while I was in fashion school, so I just stuck with it. Honestly I never considered myself an artist until recently. When I first started tapping into illustration I tried using programs like Procreate and I even bought a Wacom tablet, but over time I realized drawing with a pen-like tool just wasn’t my thing. I love using a mouse because it allows me to create perfect shapes and lines. If I had to define my art I would have to label it as a form of pop art because of the use bright colors and my tendency to make statements about current events and everyday life.
What message are you hoping to send through your art?
Through my art, I hope to shed light on my experiences as a Black woman, and to empower other women to walk boldly in who they are. Often times, Black women are expected to tone down and to not fully express themselves physically, intellectually, and emotionally. I want my art to convey the message that dark skin is beautiful and that it’s okay to be bold and to voice life’s pleasures and frustrations freely.
What do you want to be known for as an artist?
I want to be known as the artist who is not just an artist. My background as an educator and social advocate informs everything I do, and that’s the legacy I want to leave behind. I made a promise to myself that I would never get so caught up in creating beautiful designs that I forget about real life issues that matter. For me, making art solely for money or for the sake of it does not bring me joy. My life mission is to use my skills to educate and to transform people and communities.
What do you love most about being a part of the artist community? Who inspires you as an artist?
I love the people I’ve been able to connect with through my art. I never imagined myself having such a strong base of new supporters, but honestly it’s what keeps me going. The simple fact of knowing that so many people are inspired by what I do and the stories my supporters share is what inspires me.
Through her art, she hopes to shed light on her experiences as a Black woman while empowering other women to walk boldly in who they are with the freedom of fully expressing themselves.
Brittany’s vision behind our collaboration was to combine her signature style of bold colors, abstract shapes, and charismatic characters with the playful femininity behind Archer & Olive’s patterns and floral designs. It delightfully challenged Brittany to step outside of her pop art-influenced style while giving her a chance to be a part of diversifying Archer & Olive’s journal collection.
Ultimately, Brittany wants to be known as more than an artist. She hopes her art will be remembered as giving voice to important societal issues, ending violence and poverty, and inspiring others to use their gifts to change the world. That’s a mission we can get behind!
To follow along with Brittany’s art and social justice work, you can find her on Instagram at @gobeeharris or visit her website at gobeeharris.com.
To snag your own limited edition journal in the Bee Harris x Archer & Olive collection, click here to shop! A portion from each sale will be donated to Culture Type which explores art by and about people of African descent.