Tracey Harvey: Where Art, Medicine, and Community Collide

Tracey Harvey has some inspiring advice for aspiring artists.

Through the Looking Glass by Tracey Harvey, crowd ink, crowdink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Through the Looking Glass by Tracey Harvey

Tracey Harvey had an unorthodox entrance into the art world. Though she was an accomplished art student in school, she had the typical thought, “I have to do something that pays decent money.” So she trained as a physiotherapist and that medical background and her extensive global travels have had a significant impact on her work.

Her re-entrance into art as an adult began with the tutelage of a well known and accomplished British artist in Singapore who exposed her to oils. After a while, she decided to experiment with an abstract course in acrylics and nearly tossed it in, finding the rapid drying time extremely frustrating! However, once she understood how to manipulate the medium, she fell in love with it. The fact that acrylics dry quickly then became an advantage, so there is a lot of flexibility and texture manipulation that can be employed. That said, she’s never quite fallen out of love with the delicate brush techniques that the oil medium encourages.

Beneath the Surface by Tracey Harvey, crowd ink, crowdink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Beneath the Surface by Tracey Harvey

Tracey’s works present an interpretive natural world that knows no boundaries, be it colour, luminosity, or texture. She is inspired by the many minute and subtle details in our natural landscape – the things that others simply pass by unnoticed. Tracey is also a keen photographer and sometimes her macro images will inspire a painting.  Beneath the Surface is one such example, inspired by geological slices through rock faces and the various textures and colors we can find there.

Her first exhibition in New York with Agora Gallery was also inspired by natural elements and her travel. Upon waking just before dawn during a long flight, she was amazed at the continuous array of constantly changing colours and angles of light reflection through the clouds as the sun rose. It filled her with joy and appreciation of the natural beauty that surrounds us every day just seen from a different perspective. There is a peaceful, tranquil beauty that is synonymous with remembering.

Ecstasy by Tracey Harvey, crowd ink, crowdink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Ecstasy by Tracey Harvey

Ecstasy’s fields of riotous colour melt into each other so gracefully that it is almost as if they continue to move as the viewer looks at them. This painting was a product of pure happiness and the colors and movement of that ecstatic feeling.

Tracey is represented by Agora Gallery – no small feat for any artist. They contacted her after seeing her website and the exchange of validating originality of work and presentation of electronic and physical portfolios took about three months. As with most galleries, Agora Gallery offers an online presence, advertising, access to publications in magazines, and the weight of reputation granted by being solicited by a gallery.

Tracey’s favorite part of being represented by Agora Gallery is that all of the organizing of exhibitions and marketing – which can be a monumental task when curated by the artist alone – is between the artist and the curator. She now has the ability to ship the pieces and turn up on the night, knowing that the pieces are going to be featured beautifully by the curator.

Through the Looking Glass by Tracey Harvey, crowd ink, crowdink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Through the Looking Glass by Tracey Harvey

Through the Looking Glass was an experiment in different colors interacting with each other. It’s all about that Alice in Wonderland craziness , something that will be reflected also in Tracey’s upcoming Solo exhibition that this painting will be a part of– that whirl of colors as she first falls down the rabbit hole. Tracey’s shape shifting image takes inspiration in stalactites, stalagmites, and other cavernous formations. Her painting makes great use of drastic tone contrasts – darkest black placed with bright red, cerulean pitted against deep violet – and organic shapes that coalesce into extraordinary scenes.

Agora Gallery is located in Chelsea, NYC, so Thursday nights are Gallery Nights. Each Thursday, a few of the local galleries will have an opening and “non-artists” often walk into spaces, attracted not by particular artists or reputation, but by stumbling upon them. Tracey loves this idea – families stopping by before dinner, or couples dropping in before drinks. There is something lovely about community being spontaneously involved in openings.      

Magnolia Magnifica by Tracey Harvey, crowd ink, crowdink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Magnolia Magnifica by Tracey Harvey

Magnolia Magnifica is the result of manipulating a thick, heavy pour acrylic technique. This highly textured painting won the Sandro Botticelli Prize in Florence Art, Florence, Italy in 2015 and was also exhibited amongst other select international works at the 2nd Bienenale de Palermo in Palermo, Italy 2015. Another painting of similar technique Efflourescence was also awarded the Rome Imperiale Prize, in Rome, Italy in 2015 and was also exhibited in Paris at the Carousel du Louvre 9 underneath the Louvre Museum in 2015.

Her best piece of advice for artists on the rise is to have a website – even if it’s basic. She also advises to exhibit regularly – even if it’s not a solo exhibition! Tracey has formed a group of painters that exhibit together at least every two years. This brings in multiple networks and makes for a much more eclectic audience. It’s a great way to meet other people and to keep costs down for the artists. Hosting an exhibition, especially if you’re not represented can be quite expensive. Group exhibits help significantly.

Window to My World by Tracey Harvey, crowd ink, crowdink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Window to My World by Tracey Harvey

Window to My World is an acrylic painting that will be featured in Tracey’s next solo exhibition, Little Pieces of Me, in Perth in March 2017. The exhibition full of riotous colour and both large and small scale paintings is based around her two passions: art and the medical field. The event will focus on raising awareness of Osteogenesis Imperfecta (O.I.), also known as childhood brittle bone disease.

Tracey is creating an exciting exhibition designed to be positive, uplifting, and communicative in its exploration of the emotions of someone affected by this illness.  The theme has been intertwined with some fabulous quotes from Alice in Wonderland, providing added inspiration and a quirky twist to keep you entertained. Tracey wanted to highlight the link between science and creativity which are close to her heart. She particularly loves the quote, “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality,” from Alice in Wonderland. If scientists didn’t have a creative, imaginative mind research would be stagnant!

Tracey hopes that this exhibition will be an attraction to help children and their families dealing with this illness, all while educating the community and raising some money towards researching the condition.

I’m sure there are a few Mad Hatters amongst us that would love to indulge in this experience!

Check out Tracey Harvey’s website here and stay tuned for more information on her upcoming exhibition! Tracey is also happily accepting commission work at this time, so don’t hesitate to contact her for commissions!

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Tracey Harvey is based in Perth, Australia. She holds two degree’s in Science and Physiotherapy and has always had a passion for art, photography, people and travel. She has lived both interstate and overseas in a variety of places including Melbourne Australia, Cairo Egypt, Hong Kong and Singapore and she draws inspiration also from these experiences and the many other countries that she has travelled to. In recent years she has had more time to indulge her passion of painting. In Singapore she trained under British artist James Holdsworth and her works in oils were first exhibited here at The Holdsworth Gallery and Studio in 2008. Tracey also has completed many commissioned pieces and is always happy to discuss this option.