Brooke Harker is a contemporary artist based in Los Angeles, California. Her lively paintings of cities and coastal scenes are characterized by energetic brush strokes in ink and thick oil paint applied with palette knives. These vibrant depictions of daily life capture a sense of motion and highlight moments of synchronicity.
Harker calls herself a historian of the ordinary. Her paintings are a collaboration with all of the people who’ve contributed to a place over time: architects, engineers, city workers who’ve placed street signs and pedestrians whose colorful fashion landed in view at the perfect moment. All of their individual actions brought together one moment, fated to be captured on canvas.
Harker’s paintings live in collections all over the world, including with the Prince of Morocco in the Royal Palace in Rabat and as part of The Chase Center Art Collection in San Francisco, new home to the Golden State Warriors. Most recently three of her artworks became part of the cultural heritage collection of The U.S. Embassy Tokyo, Japan in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State's Office of Art in Embassies. Her art also resides in numerous private collections of Hollywood creatives.
In 2022, Harker's paintings exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and during the 2021 Olympics, debuted at The Chiba City Museum of Art in Japan with gold medal awards in each exhibit as part of the Japan International Art Exchange. Exhibit curators, Katsu Shimmin and Julienne Johnson, placed Harker's art in The National Art Center of Tokyo, in 2019, with an Award of Excellence.
Harker’s solo exhibit, An Eclectic Perspective, painted on several month residency on a farm in Paliano, Italy toured Italian galleries including locations in Rome, Genoa & Frosinone from 2015-2019 with curator Alfio Borghese of Rome. In 2020 her paintings will exhibit in Pisa, Italy at Spazio Espositivo Sopra le Logge: Modern Art Museum.
A selection of her artworks have appeared in numerous group exhibits with Borghese including: Connessione Oltre Confini in 2018-2019 and Viva Italia: Evoluzione e Metamorfosi di Arte, at Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles in collaboration with Area Contesa Arte of Rome), Biennale di Frosinone/Anagni in 2016 & 2018 and California Dreaming: An International Portrait of Southern California, at Palazzo della Provincia di Frosinone, Italy in 2014. California Dreaming, juried by international art critic Peter Frank & museum directors Daniel Foster and Drew Oberjuerge, also toured to the Oceanside Museum of Art and the Riverside Museum of Art in California from 2014-2015.
Harker exhibits in various galleries in Los Angeles and has been represented by Lu Martin Galleries in Laguna Beach, CA since 2014. In 2013, the field deputy of California State Senator Alex Padilla nominated Harker for Excellence in the Arts. She is a member of International Association of Art USA and InterNations.
Fascinated by other cultures and languages since childhood, Harker has lived abroad and participated in projects and residencies throughout Europe and Asia. She continues to travel for inspiration, yet always returns home to Los Angeles to paint in an outdoor studio in the California sunshine.
Selected recent exhibits: The National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan, The Chase Center, San Francisco, Castelli Art Space, Los Angeles, CA, Palazzo del Comune, Boville Erica, Italy, Al Barsha, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Area Contesa Arte, Rome, Italy, Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles, Gabba Gallery, Los Angeles, Gallery 825, Los Angeles, Lu Martin Galleries, Laguna Beach, CA, Satura Art Gallery, Genoa, Italy, Villa Comunale di Frosinone, Italy, Riverside Museum of Art in Riverside CA, Fann-A-Porter Gallery in Dubai, Oceanside Museum of Art in Oceanside CA, FABStudio Art Gallery in Santa Monica, CA, Palazzo della Provincia di Frosinone, Italy, The Wolf Fine Art Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, Malibleu Gallery in Malibu, CA, bg Bergamot Gallery in Santa Monica, CA.
Selected Press & Recognition: Artillery Magazine, American Art Collector, Art in America, ChicStyle, Italy, ExtraTV, Italy, The Huffington Post, The Hollywood Times, The Malibu Times, La Provincia- (Frosinone, Italy), le3.it, The Santa Monica Mirror, Splash Magazines, The Examiner, Topanga Messenger, Santa Monica Daily Press, Westside Today, The Los Angeles Post, Dongguan Informer (China), and cited in More Magazine & Felix Magazine, Buzzfeed, Season 8 of Hell’s Kitchen on FOX, & nominated in 2013 by the Field Deputy of CA State Senator Alex Padilla for Excellence in the Arts.
Brooke Harker’s approach to the image of a city – of any environment, actually, but a city’s most particularly – insists that our experience of a place emerges from a wealth of phenomena, smaller and larger, interacting and giving one another a reason to exist. Harker’s method, reliant equally on drawing and painting throughout even the most painterly tableau, does not simply thrust us into the middle of a bustling street; it dissolves the street and reassembles it around our vision, as if we had been dreaming, been jolted awake, and found ourselves beholding a scene at once instantly recognizable and entirely alien.
– Peter Frank- art critic for The Huffington Post, associate editor Fabrik Magazine
Brooke Harker illustrates with her meticulous descriptive art the continuous movement of a metropolis and the incessant flow of its tumultuous traffic in the city of cinema, Los Angeles, where Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Malibu, The Arts District, Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Bangladesh, Thai Town, Little Ethiopia, Mexico and Little Tokyo all coexist- in short, where you can find the whole world.
-Alfio Borghese- curator & arts journalist, Rome, Italy
The paintings I create are about connections between people. Within the hustle of any city or relaxing coastal scene there is a silent cooperation between people, whether to negotiate their paths on a sidewalk or in the selection of where to place umbrellas in the sand. I’m fascinated by the idea that a moment exists only once and will never occur again. It amazes me how the lives of many people throughout history contribute to the current moment and a person’s minor choices have the ability to impact infinite people throughout time. In some ways, my paintings are time capsules, and I’m a historian of the ordinary.
It becomes a bit of a hunt for me when taking photos or sketching live on location to find moments of unknowing collaboration between strangers. I track the stride of pedestrians, the flow of traffic and the position of the sun in illuminating these interactions. This fascination with synchronicity reflects in the compositions I choose. I sort for pops of color that relate to each other in the same moment. When a pedestrian’s pants match a nearby taxi or a bus coordinates with the traffic light it brightens my day. These seemingly insignificant observations ignite a sense of wonder about the way everything in life fits together. As most people don’t want to hear how excited I am to see a grocery bag match a street sign, I let the joy fuel my art.
As I associate places and people with color, the drippy acrylic backgrounds represent the energy of a place. The ink strokes, whether fluid or defined, mirror the structured world we live in and are a place to tame the wanderings of the mind. The pure colors in thick oil paint texture applied with knives express a desire to feel a sense of flow in life. The stories of many people I’ve met and learned from along the way are layered into the process of creating these scenes. Painting allows me to share my life visibly and are private journal entries at the same time. The lessons I learn in life embed in the paint and help transform my perspective and experiences. I believe that as each person connects to themselves and heals, there is a potential for the thread of our impact to open this world up to more compassion, understanding and love.