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In their day-to-day life, Harriet is a titan of work, a testament to the evident passion that is their art, their life. Their dynamic approach to digital art is fascinating, mirroring multifaceted talents and distinctive charm. There's an uncanny similarity between Harriet and their characters - a fusion of ethereal and human qualities that echoes through her art. 

Journeying with Harriet through their artistic exploits feels akin to accompanying an explorer, each new piece of art a fresh frontier. She doesn't stop and doesn't pause. Turn your back for a moment, and you might miss an impressive new creation. Our meeting in Berlin, over a casual cup of coffee, offered an enriching off-the-record interaction, a glance into the person behind the artistry. Transitioning later to our formal roles of interviewer and interviewee, I carried with me the authentic impression of their natural behavior.

Your art presents creatures that blend sculptural beauty with a hint of wild unpredictability. What inspires this captivating duality in your work?

I see them forming a kind of coherent family. Indeed, 'family' seems right since many share striking resemblances. Over time, I've understood my likes and dislikes. It's been about striking that balance, not veering too far into hyper femininity or masculinity. While they might have a 'dangerous' edge, there's an undeniable softness, placing them perfectly between two extremes.

But before these creatures, dragons were also at the center of your attention, weren't they?

From early on, I went through intense phases of  many different fascination. But by the age of six, dragons took center stage. This passion lasted well into my early teens. I would lock myself in my room, sketching dragons for hours, immersing in any dragon-themed media I could lay hands on.

Over time, my sketches evolved, incorporating chimeric fantasy characters inspired by various creatures. And yes, my mom still has those drawings. I would also blend in unique medieval weapons, giving my artwork a distinctive flair. My best friend and I even crafted our own 'Dragonese' language. We'd toss dragon-esque phrases back and forth, though I admit, I don't recall much of it now – mostly anecdotes from my mum. We had our fun, even if we weren't always sure of what we were saying!

Given your unique creative expressions, like the invented language and the distinct creatures in your art, I'm curious about how your upbringing in a remote setting influenced your creativity. Can you share more about your journey from that landscape to this expansive world of art?

When I think about the landscapes in my art, especially the gray, desert-like backgrounds, they reflect my origins. I grew up in a place so isolated it wasn't even a village. Such landscapes might appear desolate, but they carry a unique vitality, reminiscent of the Yorkshire moorland I grew up in. Every season there is a different color palette painted, and that was my view. It was a place of vastness and freedom, where the closest bus stop was miles away, and friends were a long drive apart. In this environment, cycling was not an option, and public transportation was scarce. The solitude and the serene backdrop meant I often immersed myself in books, sometimes even locking myself in the bathroom to read. I believe my extensive imagination was partly a result of the solitude I experienced, and it became a tool for survival in such a quiet world. This place, where I'd pretend to be creatures and chase sheep, crafting bows and arrows, laid the foundation for my artistic journey.

Considering your proficiency, did your artistic journey lean more on formal education or self-teaching, and how did the Blender community shape your learning?

While I did study graphic design at art school, a significant chunk of my skills are self-acquired, often through YouTube tutorials and reading. The Blender community was invaluable, especially in my early days. Despite its free resources, what truly stood out was the willingness of some to share their techniques when I reached out. This generosity is why I'm now passionate about giving back, hosting tutorials and workshops. My immersion into 3D was intense, and though I found it easy to focus and learn, I understand it might not be the case for everyone. Hence, I aim to simplify the learning curve for others.

Given your trajectory of both formal education and self-teaching, how do you feel about the educational system in terms of its benefits versus the financial burdens it places on students?

It's a nuanced issue. Attending university was a privilege, especially during a time when many are pursuing higher education. However, the debt I incurred feels like a constant burden. While I'm trying to pay it off, it feels like I'm barely scratching the surface, mostly just covering the interest. I can't help but compare the English system to places like Germany where education is far more affordable. In hindsight, I wish I'd been aware of more affordable educational opportunities abroad at a younger age.

Do you think the main value of formal education is less about the academic learnings and more about the relationships and experiences you gain, the networking opportunities, and the time it provides to discover one's passion?

Definitely. Some of my closest friends, including ones here in Berlin, are from my university days. Those three years gave me time to truly understand my passion. My time in Berlin during the Erasmus program, the internships, and the massive project we did with Jagermeister were transformative. I was even offered a residency after that project, which was an incredible opportunity. While a part of me wished to stay in Berlin, the thought of not completing my degree, especially considering my mother's expectations, drove me back to England. Fortunately, I was able to secure that residency upon my return.

Your collaborations, especially with renowned fashion figures like LN-CC and Margiela, have been awe-inspiring. What's your experience like collaborating with these fashion powerhouses, and how does your artistic process adapt to such ventures?

Reflecting on some of the most creatively fulfilling projects I've undertaken, I realize that the majority are editorial fashion pieces. It's wonderful to have clients who approach you for your unique vision. The trust they place in my creativity is heartwarming. One project that stands out is the first where they gave me full autonomy - reimagination of the Wet Look theme from the 'Artisanal' Co-ed Collection AW20 from Margiela. They commissioned the piece without any promotional intent. They introduced various themes from their collection and allowed each artist - a tailor, a florist, a wig maker, and myself - to run with our interpretations. When I shared a preview and received feedback from the likes of John Galliano with a simple "keep going," it was truly overwhelming.

Beyond these collaborations, how involved or interested are you personally in the world of high fashion?

Surprisingly, not much. Compared to others, I might seem more engaged, but I'm not a fashion ‘aficionado’. I struggle with finding and buying clothes. The realm of high fashion isn't something I follow closely. Yet, I have immense respect for it as a medium. I cherish working with fashion designers, and while I might not have a defined role in the fashion industry, these collaborations have been gratifying. 

It's fascinating that you've incorporated personal relationships into your projects, like involving your close friend in clothing decisions and your sister for the music in the Adidas commission. How did this close-knit collaboration form and how did their inputs elevate the project?

It's always been a fantastic dynamic. We term ourselves the 'Dream Team' since we've collaborated on multiple projects together. With fashion, my friend brings her expertise, helping choose garments that resonate with the project's essence. And musically, the freedom is unparalleled. Visual references often reflect my own work, which is great. Avoiding overt inspiration from others helps maintain originality. With projects like Adidas, the guidance might be abstract, such as textures or sounds, but then it's a green signal to "Go wild." Working with my sister is also special. I see her immense potential and try to guide her, especially since the path can be daunting.

"To me, it's more than just a character—it's a representation of myself. Every depiction of this particular character resonates deeply with me and occupies a special place in my heart. It embodies all that I aspire to be and captures that dreamy, imaginative quality many of us yearn for. It represents a transformative experience, taking us to a world we'd love to immerse ourselves in."

Among all the captivating pieces you've created, is there one in particular that resonates more deeply with you or that you have a special connection with?

While I hold affection for all of my creations, one piece showcased at the Milan exhibition a few months ago stands out. Initially developed for a private commision with Kérastase Paris project, this artwork featuring a creature viewed from behind, which then slowly turns to face the viewer, holds a unique significance for me. To me, it's more than just a character—it's a representation of myself. Every depiction of this particular character resonates deeply with me and occupies a special place in my heart. It embodies all that I aspire to be and captures that dreamy, imaginative quality many of us yearn for. It represents a transformative experience, taking us to a world we'd love to immerse ourselves in.

As human beings, we're deeply immersed in the digital realm, and for artists like you, the online world becomes an essential aspect of work. Do you perceive your online and offline lives as separate, or do they blend into one continuous experience?

I see it more like swimming in a swamp—sometimes messy and overwhelming, but mostly manageable. I recognize the pitfalls of the online world but have embraced it. It occupies much of my time but also provides immense joy and a vast network of friendships. For me, these online connections are as real and significant as the ones I form offline. So, there's no distinct boundary for me; both realms merge seamlessly.

With your art widely shared online, how do you cope with the diverse reactions you get, especially any negative comments? Is there a method you employ to handle criticism, or do you usually overlook it?

I don't follow a specific strategy. Most negative comments come when my work is shared by other accounts. On my own account, such feedback is rare since my followers are primarily fellow artists or open-minded people. An example was when Kérastase Paris project's work carousel was posted, and I got intense messages, particularly from some devout American Christians accusing me of devil worship. There's a misinterpretation, thinking that I'm defining what beauty is. But it's not about dictating beauty; it's about creativity and expression. It's intriguing how different people perceive things.

It seems you're handling it quite well.

While I can't foresee every reaction, I do get unexpected and heartwarming messages. People often reach out, appreciating the tutorials or expressing how inspired they are by my work. Some of these have been so profound that they've brought me to tears. They genuinely sustain my spirit. So these moments of connection and gratitude are immensely motivating for me. Overall, I feel I'm in a great space, doing what I love.

As our conversation began to wind down, Harriet shared even more personal tidbits with me, including their love for their cycling routine in Berlin and how competitive she can get sometimes. Harriet also showed me some of their sketches — a significant part of the process, especially when art directing commissioned pieces for clients. What truly caught me off guard was learning about their ballet background, and the fact that Harriet once taught dance to others. She continuously surprised me at every turn. I urge everyone to keep a keen eye on this truly talented individual. —

'Whowle' emerges as the digital manifestation of Harriet Blend's alter ego, a character from her visionary project 'The Real Unreal'. This portrait captures the essence of identity exploration within the digital sphere, where human characteristics intermingle with fantastical elements. Whowle bears the distinctive physical traits of their creator - hair, eyes, and skin textures - all of which are imbued with a surreal quality. Their sharp elfin ears, the otherworldly sheen of their skin, and the ethereal glow that seems to emanate from within, all contribute to their presence as a fluid entity capable of transcending the traditional boundaries of human and digital forms. This artwork encapsulates the convergence of art, technology, and identity in an ever-expanding virtual landscape.

Harriet Davey (they/she) shines as a dynamic presence in the world of art and 3D creation. With a foundation in self-taught skills amid the rapidly evolving landscape of technology, Davey boasts a diverse portfolio. However, it's their visionary work with the fashion industry that has brought they widespread acclaim. As Davey herself acknowledges, these collaborations have offered unparalleled opportunities to explore new territories and sculpt artist's unique creative style. Her remarkable ability to weave complex, digital worlds inhabited by fantastical, non-gender characters sets her apart. These avatars, deeply human yet distinctively adorned in soft, shimmering textures and subtly masculine features, capture a blend of boldness and captivating beauty.

In their 3D images and videos, Davey blurs the lines between reality and fantasy, merging the tangible with the ethereal in a gentle balance where dreams and reality coalesce. What distinguishes her in the digital art scene is her openness about creative journey, generously sharing insights and lessons learned with the digital community.

Collect NFT