Born in Jackson, Michigan in 1974 Raymond Salvatore Harmon grew up in the small town fringe on the border of Detroit’s industrial wasteland. After a dismal attempt in the early 1990s at university education (anthropology) Harmon decided the best lessons are taught by life itself, which is as far from university living as one can imagine. For more than a decade Harmon has been developing and evolving the theoretical and practical applications of non object oriented art. Utilizing architectural scale painting and new media/web based content in coordination with public performance, graffiti style ad bombing, and web based social engineering Harmon’s work has carved out an over arching form of contemporary media insurgency.[via raymondharmon.com]
How would you summarize this past year on an artistic and personal level?
2014 has been a straight headfuck. As 2013 wrapped up I really wanted this past year to be something big, and man, it did not disappoint. Started in January in Los Angeles, building an outdoor augmented reality based painted mural called MIRAGE with the Heavy Projects. Spent 2 weeks eating tacos in the hot sun, painting a massive hotel in the Fashion District and browsing the stacks of Vacation Vinyl on Sunset Drive.
From there the whole year has been fantastic. So busy I look back and think “where did the year go already?”
Which album have you listened to most often this year (not necessarily released in 2014)?
According to my computer my most played album is XTC’s Skylarking. But I feel like this year I have been listing a lot to Mark Pilkington and Zali Krishna’s group Raagnagrok and Grumbling Fur’s last two albums Glynnaestra and Preternaturals a ton as well.
What was the best gig you’ve attended?
Grumbling Fur (Daniel O’Sullivan & Alex Tucker) have done a couple of really incredible live gigs this past year. Dan is all over the place in terms of projects from Mothlite, to Æthenor (super group with Kris Rygg of Ulver, Steve O’Malley, Steve Noble), and as a member of Ulver. He and Alex really merge this shimmering post shoegaze feeling with something from the not-so-distant future with Grumbling Fur. Music for a William Gibson daydream.
While not a music gig the Kenny Schachter curated Polke/Richter show at Christie’s was pretty phenomenal. The history there between the two painters is deep and often overlooked. Kenny has a great eye for the tension involved there. Like to see him curating more at that level, museum quality shows.
What was the best non-music related cultural experience you’ve had?
I got to help out one of my favorite painters Maya Hayuk on a massive 4 story private commission. Just inspiring to stand back and watch her do her thing for 5 days. She is a real painter, constantly thinking about the whole work, physically pushing the paint. Honestly one of the best in the world right now. A really great way to spend a week.
Was there an event within this past year that has significantly influenced your philosophy and outlook on life, or your perception of the world around you? For instance some specific place you visited, people you met and so on?
I went to Silesia, Poland in October to paint my largest work to date. A 5 story food co-op. Worked with a local youth organization, who all seemed slightly afraid of me but that was likely the language barrier (I do tend to be a bit gruff when focused on painting). It was amazing to go there and see how excited these teens were about helping their community. They worked with the foodbank and the city to bring me out and to create a situation that both improves the visual space and brings culture directly to the people that live in that environment. To me that is the best situation in which to create. Bringing the art directly to the people.
What was your greatest disappointment in 2014?
That the world seems to be sliding toward a neofeudalism. That America, my birthplace, has become a post-fascist oligarchy. That the lie called democracy is extinct and that capitalism is a religion being forced on the world. That ultimately the people of the world are blind and lazy to see real progress made in their lifetimes. But its not inevitable, and it will change, regardless of how many choose to sit on their hands and do nothing.
Your plans, hopes and expectations for 2015?
I have spent the past 2 months preparing pieces for my upcoming solo show ACID in February at Imitate Modern gallery in London. It’s themed around alchemy and light. So I am looking forward to seeing it all come together. It will be a fully immersive paint installation inside the gallery. It’s super rare to find a commercial gallery willing to take a risk on such an involved installation. So the year gets a big push right at the start, the rest is going to be filled with even more adventures.