My self-portraits often explore the inner self. The paintings dissolve the figure pointing to different states of being that are temporal and ethereal. I am looking at how a surface can reflect, distort, fragment and transform the real. I want people to relate to this in an emotive way seeing this in themselves.

My portraits try to capture the person’s relationship to me. It is a moment in time. I rarely do commissions, so it’s quite random when I do a portrait, but it’s because I’m interested in the subject. The scene is sometimes collaged and altered from initial photographs, but not always. I try to get an expression that I think reflects the person’s character, and I use material things around them to give the viewer an idea about what they do, what they like, and that celebrates who I think they are.

Like Joseph Cornell, I enjoy collecting objects that I pick up in flea markets, antique fairs or Bric-a-Brack shops. I often juxtapose these objects in still life scenes. I also use symbols that are traditionally universal, communicating a solid concept – I put them against other symbols and signs in collaged environments, and the concept becomes more poetic, with narratives that are often rooted in my experiences, thoughts and feelings. The finished pieces are often paintings, but I also use the objects directly. I sometimes make resin boxes that encapsulate objects, suspend things like marbles, and create playful universes in what seem like pools of water to magnify and suspend what is below. These are about the joy of looking.

Website: www.georgejharding.co.uk/

Location: Bristol

Profession: Painter