Harlie Briggs in her studio

Harlie Briggs Art focuses on the female form and nature in her gorgeous studio in London. Founder Harlie shares how she built her brand, how she finds inspiration and the future of the art industry.

The Brand Journey

Tell us your business story I have been painting since I can remember. But, I started painting nudes specifically in 2016 when I was going through a really rough time. I wasn’t being kind to my body and painting helped me go through my emotions - which sounds cliche but it’s true. I started painting nature pieces in 2019 when my appreciation for our world and nature was growing. I made a risky move last year where I decided to take my teaching career part-time so that I could focus more on my art. 

Is teaching something you want to return to full-time? After spending all of my time on my art in lockdown, I don’t think I am going to go back to teaching. It’s a huge financial risk not to return and it definitely makes me feel uneasy, but it’s what I want and it’s now or never for me. 

What does your brand strive to do? My brand aims to be as inspiring, empowering, and as sustainable as possible. I stand for body neutrality, representing every body and any body. I encourage women to come to me just as they are. 

Why nudes? Women are slowly accepting themselves for who they are and not who they think they should be or what society expects them to be. I decided to celebrate the female form because society has decided not to. 

Is it rewarding to paint women? Well, my work involves women sharing their bodies with me - so they are my muses. It brings more value and meaning into my paintings whilst empowering women at the same time. I am so thankful that there are so many lovely ladies who do this. I simply paint what I see, and everything that I see is beautiful. When a woman starts seeing herself as a piece of art - that means we are making progress. It is so heartwarming to see how confident and content women are when they see the final painting. 

You mentioned you paint nature pieces, is there a particular season you like to paint? My favorite season is Spring! I love all of the colors and when all of the greys turn to greens. It reminds me of a new life beginning and everything starting over. Being outside brings this calmness that I hope is mirrored in my paintings.

Harlie briggs Art

What is the best advice you have received? I used to worry about what people thought of me, which in hindsight is so silly. So, the best advice that I have ever received is “People are going to talk anyway, whatever you do. So just do it.” 

Who or what influences your brand? My friends and family influence my brand. I am so lucky to have such supportive souls around me - we all encourage each other to be as creative as possible and to be brave, to brainstorm new ideas together and make scary decisions to better ourselves. 

Any future brand goals? I don’t really have any specific goals and plans, but I just want to continue painting as many bodies as possible. I want to be as inclusive as possible and my dream is to have my own solo show some day, I’m just worried no one would turn up. Would you guys attend?

Of course!! Tell us about the future of your industry I do think that it is a whole movement that will take time and will need the effort of most people of all genders, races, and body types. Artists are playing a large part in this movement and I hope that over time it will become the norm, as more and more women decide to celebrate their bodies, rather than hiding them and having hatred towards them.

Meet Harlie Briggs

Harlie is the founder of Harlie Briggs Art and her work is a display of true talent. She tells us a little bit about herself and what she hopes to see change in our current world. 

Describe yourself in 3 words Creative, communicative, and clumsy. 

What motivates you? People motivate me - especially the women who share their raw images with me.

How do you unwind in your everyday life? Simply walking, to places like Highbury fields, or through Epping forest with my dog, is a great way for me to unwind. It makes me so happy taking her to new places...I am a sucker for a good lake - she doesn’t quite agree! 

Do you have any hobbies? I like to swim in open water. Being outside and in nature, around animals, and in great company - all things I love. 

Tell us your travel recommendations I would definitely suggest taking a boat through the islands in the Philippines. It’s such natural and undisturbed beauty and the unspoiled nature makes you realise how damaging human impact has been on our environment. Lockdown has highlighted to me how beautiful England really is. I’ve always enjoyed finding new pockets of England, it really is so beautiful and I think we take it for granted a lot of the time. 

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? If I could change one thing about the world, it would be removing any stigma about being naked and normalising the nude body. A lot of people think that nudity is the same thing as sex. I found this great quote once, “There is nothing inherently sexual about nudity. You can be highly sexual with all of your clothes on. You can also be nonsexual with all of your clothes off.”

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