Harley’s artistic journey began back on the Isle of Man, when his A-level art saw him crowned the victor of the island’s prestigious Archibald Knox Award. While he briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a pilot, ultimately Harley decided to pursue his love of art, choosing to study Fine Art Painting at Brighton University.

Through painting, Harley discovered an outlet for exploring his sexuality and mental health, inspired by artists like Hernan Bas, Doron Langberg and Jochen Klein. His style developed from photorealistic portraits to abstract expressionism and landscapes, culminating in a sell-out solo show under the arches on Brighton beach.

Harley’s favourite thing about working at Enter Gallery, besides being surrounded by art, is the curation element of the job. He tells us: “I love making sure the walls look balanced, and seeing what pieces work together to tell a story.”

Harley loves nothing more than seeing people’s reactions to artworks and chatting to visitors about their opinions: “I love it when people know their stuff. Their perspective on it might be totally opposite to mine, but it makes me think about things in a different way, and to see the artworks in a new light.”

If you could meet any artist, living or dead, who would you choose?

“I’d go back and meet someone big like Picasso. Although you can get a picture of these infamous artists from their work, you don’t really know who they are or how they work. I’d like to see the person behind the art. It would be interesting to see Picasso’s routine and what he’s really like.”

What would you steal in a high stakes art heist?

“Marcel Duchamp’s Urinal. When Duchamp first displayed it, there was uproar with people claiming it wasn’t art and demanding it be taken down. For me, this piece is where modern contemporary art stemmed from – this new way of thinking about what constitutes art. I’d take that, put it up on my wall, and most people would never even know that it was worth millions.”

If you could emulate the style of one artist, who would it be?

“Willem de Koening’s abstract expressionism is beautiful. It looks easy but there is a method to do it right and he’s nailed it. It’s aesthetically amazing.”

Why do you think art is important?

“Art’s important because it allows you to express emotions that, in today’s society, you don’t necessarily get the chance to. You can feel and deal with emotion, all through the power of art. Whether someone is creating it or speaking about it, there is always something about art that has the capacity to make you feel another way.”

Who is an artist that you think is one-to-watch?

Charlotte Rose! As her work has evolved, I’ve loved seeing her refining what she wants to talk about through her art. I’m excited to see what comes next.”

Harley Artworks