New works by Alison Friend: ‘While You Were Out…’ at Harman Projects Los Angeles

What do our pets do when we’re gone?

Are they flexing their creative capacities on an Etch A Sketch, sneaking forbidden treats, or indulging in their secret vices?

Bruno Ate Cookies (7 and Counting), 2024

British illustrator Alison Friend exercises her imagination to explore these questions and much more in her current solo exhibition, ‘While You Were Out…‘ at Harman Projects Los Angeles.

Her new series of pet portraits unveils cats and dogs taking inspiration from their human counterparts, enjoying the splendours of food, drink, and household objects with unbridled freedom. Alison’s stylistic approach with oils perfectly mirrors the traditional heart of portrait painting, while bringing a new breath of life with her playful theme. “I’m trying to depict funny contemporary characters with their modern relatable vices,” she shares. “They are the complete opposite to the often dour, porcelain-skinned human subjects in the portraits of the Old Masters, but I want that traditional feel for my paintings.”

From the witty to the downright adorable, Alison encourages us to see our furry friends in a new light, while also appreciating just how much we often see ourselves within our pets.

Alison Friend: ‘While You Were Out…

Betsy Has Been On Hold For Over An Hour, 2024

Exhibition Dates: March 09 – 30, 2024

Harman Projects Los Angeles

2754 S La Cienega Blvd Suite B | Los Angeles, CA 90034

Phone: +1 310-730-6164

Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm

For additional information, images, or feature opportunities, please contact LA@harmanprojects.com.

I start off with an idea for a character. I have lots in my head. It’s like a waiting room until it’s their time to come out! As strong as an idea for a character is, they do take on a life of their own. That’s what I love. I get to know them as the painting progresses.

We think of them as having human emotions and I try to capture that. It’s how we connect with the animals in our lives. Hopefully I bring just enough to the work for the viewer to create their own story for the subject. I want the viewer to be part of the creative process.

Alison Friend
Alison Friend, Studio Portrait
Pizza Lover (recently auctioned to raise money for Life K9 Rescue, a non-profit animal rescue and rehabilitation center in Los Angeles).

About the Gallery //

Harman Projects was founded in 2022 by curator and gallerist Ken Harman Hashimoto. Their goal is to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment to foster a community of like-minded artists, collectors, and art lovers in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and beyond. The focus at Harman Projects is broad but lies mainly in the New Contemporary genre, encompassing historical movements such as New York City graffiti and SoCal pop- surrealism alongside contemporary schools of art such as Bay Area abstracted realism, International muralism and Japanese-inspired SuperFlat.

About the artist Alison Friend //

Alison Friend graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 1996 with a degree in Fine Art specialising in Printmaking. Between the years 2001-2007 Friend lived in the United States, where she realised her ambition to become a children’s book illustrator. She signed her first contract with Candlewick Press in 2007 when she had just arrived back in the UK. Though a prolific illustrator since then, the combination of the pandemic slowing down publishing and extra time to explore traditional painting methods saw many hours in front of an easel- painting became a fundamental and primary part of Friend’s practice.

Friend’s paintings are sold to collectors all over the world and she has exhibited both nationally and internationally in cities like London, Manchester, Walsall, Scotland, and Los Angeles, and has participated in several online exhibitions with international galleries.

Living My Best Lives, 2023

Alison Friend Social Media Accounts

Website | Instagram

Harman Projects Social Media Accounts

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

About Author

Based in the UK, Natalia Joruk enjoys a life surrounded by art, nature, and curious trinkets. As Deputy Editor, she's worked closely with the Editor-in-Chief for over a decade, supporting with the design and growth of Beautiful Bizarre and the maintenance of the annual Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize. Natalia also oversees sponsor partnerships for the Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize, and distribution of the magazine, so drop her an email if you know someone who would like to sponsor or stock! She also writes for both the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine website and print publication. One of her favourite perks is getting to know artists, gallery owners and their teams personally, so feel free to email her if there is anything she can help you with – or just to connect.


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