Meet The Artist: Georgie Harrison Part One

We're excited to welcome Georgie to the Whistlefish family with her beautiful artwork showcasing Cornwall's natural and stunning coastline. We caught up with Georgie to find out more about her life as an artist and the inspiration behind her work.

Tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming an artist

‘Arty Genes’ run through the family. My parents tell me stories of having me in my cot as a child on exhibition stands. Mum and Dad led the entrepreneurial life, I have many childhood memories traipsing around factories, visiting exhibits, travelling around Southeast Asia. It wasn’t until university I realised how much their entrepreneurial spirits had rubbed off on me. I studied Fine Art for my Undergraduate degree, during this time I found myself sieving through my parents’ contacts to see whether or not one of the factories they were in contact with wanted a new designer - and hey presto - one of them did. I spent some time designing for a Fuzhou Factory and exhibiting my work at the Canton Fair (the world's largest Arts and Craft Fair). During this time I learnt how to design products commercially, I learnt the tough way how to take constructive criticism and unfortunately the timing wasn’t quite right for me - sales were low and competition was high. My confidence was knocked and therefore I decided to go travelling after university. On my return my parents told me they were moving to Cornwall - to which I replied ‘don’t be silly!!’. Two weeks later I was moving down with them. I joined the Launchpad Programme in Penryn - an incubation hub for tech start ups - alongside gaining my Masters in Entrepreneurship. Before lockdown I was co-founder of a tech start-up called Roamey positioned in the Travel Industry, with a mission to help smaller activity and hotel owners gain traction which took a massive hit due to COVID-19. The beginning of lockdown I decided to pick up my paint brushes again - I haven't put them down since!

Wow, what a journey! It sounds like you’ve had lots of very different experiences to bring you to this point in your life. How has this helped you to be a better artist and start your own business?

I’ve always said I’m a dormant entrepreneur and that I’ve had the spirit inside me to start my own business. I went to university as a very traditional artist but then all of the weird and wonderful approaches to art came through as I got to work with lots of different mediums on my fine art degree. My experience at Canton Fair also taught me the value of failure, I didn’t have the business tools that I needed, but then going through the Launch programme helped to focus me commercially and launched my business career.

Your work features such beautiful seascapes from around the Cornish coast - where’s your favourite place to spend time by the sea in Cornwall?

That’s a tricky question, I haven’t come across a Cornish coast which I dislike. I do love the more dramatic scenery of the north coast such as Hayle, Perranporth and Bedruthan. But my absolute favourite place to be has to be Flushing - the place I get the most inspiration from, the place I live, love and work from.

Georgie Harrison

What inspires you most about the sea?

The vastness and the fact that much of the ocean remains a mystery. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimated that as much as 95 percent of the world's oceans and 99 percent of the ocean floor are unexplored. Aesthetically I love the colours, especially those pockets of bright green. It just so happens that the water off the coast of Cornwall appears to be very bright on satellite images compared to the rest of the surrounding ocean due to an unexpectedly large and intense bloom of phytoplankton which is great for marine life!

It’s great to see that you’re so passionate about protecting our beach and seashores for future generations - why do you feel it’s so important to support Surfers Against Sewage?

Their priority going forward is to fight the plastic pollution that blights our beaches and strangles our seashores. They’re protecting nature's beauty, and all the things I love - our oceans, waves, beaches and wildlife. Capturing the ocean and painting seascapes isn’t just a career, it’s a therapy. I want to give back to the ocean and preserve its aesthetics for future generations to enjoy as I have been so lucky to.

Georgie Harrison

Do you have any advice for any aspiring artists?

Dedicating yourself to one path works for many people, and would probably work well for me, too. But you don’t have to – just say yes to everything and figure it out later!

What are you most excited about for the future?

I have endless ideas for the future, including workshops, beach cleans, beach art and some exciting partnerships in the pipeline. I can’t go into too much detail but if you follow me on @Gee_By_The_Sea you will soon find out!

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Georgie - we’re very excited to be featuring your beautiful work.

Georgie’s artwork can be viewed and purchased at our galleries in St Ives, Truro and Falmouth, and is available to buy online here.

Read Part Two 2023 Journal Post here >

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