Innovative Art of Stephen Harlan Marks First Show of Its Kind at Ocean Galleries

Groundbreaking digital artist brings unique and captivating art to Stone Harbor July 19-21, 2019

For more than 20 years, Ocean Galleries has hosted summer art exhibits featuring a wide variety of artistic styles and artists, ranging from works by the Masters, to many well-known artists such as Howard Behrens, Peter Max, Romero Britto, Wyland, and Autumn de Forest, to rock stars such as Ringo Starr, Graham Nash, and John Lennon, to the whimsical art of Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney. This summer, Ocean Galleries delves into a new genre when hosting their first digital art exhibit by groundbreaking artist Stephen Harlan, whose gorgeous works both captivate and mesmerize the viewer.

The “Stephen Harlan – Water’s Edge” exhibit will be at Ocean Galleries (9618 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor, NJ/609.368.7777) from Friday, July 19 through Sunday, July 21, 2019.  Guests will have the opportunity to meet Stephen Harlan at receptions taking place 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20, and 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM on Sunday, July 21.

“Stephen Harlan – Water’s Edge”

What started as a business task for then graphic designer Stephen Harlan, has since evolved into a business of its own. Harlan had talked his company into upgrading their computers so that he could make better pie charts and graphics for their presentations. The company purchased a high-end computer system with a four-inch thick manual, which Harlan took upon himself to read and learn all that it had to offer.  Being a person who loved to play and try new things, he started working on a digital version of a guitar, which he ended up sending to the manufacturer of the system, just for fun. The president of the computer manufacturing company reached out to Harlan in disbelief that their computers could actually produce something like this.

The computer company made an unusual offer to Harlan – if he would allow them to use one of his images per year for promotion, they would provide him with his own state-of-the-art system to create the artwork. “I was blown away by their offer, and, of course, took them up on it,” explains Harlan. “I love to play and try new things, so this provided me with the perfect opportunity to do just that.” Through a process of trial and error, Stephen began creating digital “paintings” where he would actually “trick” the computer into doing some of the tasks needed to produce the final art.

Sleeping Late, Copyright Stephen Harlan 2019

Harlan compares the process to sports – the more you do it, the better you get. And being that he loves what he is doing so much, it quickly became less about “work” and more about his “passion.” Unlike painting on a canvas, he was able to blow up his art to a sixteenth of an inch to create detail that a traditional painter could never master. In fact, the process is so detailed, it sometimes is a struggle to know when an image is done. “You can definitely go overboard with details and I’ve learned that too much can ruin the piece.”

Like a traditional artist, Harlan creates arts with brushes, only his tools are all electronic. Depending on the look he aspires to achieve, he has brushes that can help him depict oils, acrylics, watercolors, and pastels. “The screen is designated as ‘wet’ paint when I start.  I can move around, scrape it off, or start over as I proceed with the painting.  When I finally reach the desired outcome and finish the session, I then ‘dry’ it to capture the final art.”

Tomorrow’s Fine, Copyright Stephen Harlan 2019

While some artists will recreate a scene that they have visited, all of Harlan’s artwork stems from his imagination and, in many cases, a long history of living on and enjoying the water. It can be something as simple as a shadow of a palm tree that sparks his thoughts and actually triggers a switch in his brain. He even keeps a note pad by his bed so that he can write down any ideas that might come to him at night.

One of the other unique aspects of Stephen Harlan’s art is the material he uses. A favorite of Harlan’s is a metallic canvas with specks of silver in it, which he finds transposes his images well.  He also uses a high gloss aluminum material that presents the art in a high definition format. The material is very lightweight and will never oxidize or corrode, making it a popular format for boat owners.

“We first started carrying Stephen’s artwork a few years back and were amazed how people coming into the gallery were immediately drawn to his works,” said Kim Miller, owner of Ocean Galleries. “His art is so innovative and different than anything else out there.  It draws you in and is so captivating that you can look at it forever! We are very excited to share this collection with our customers and the community.”

Still, Copyright Stephen Harlan 2019

The “Stephen Harlan – Water’s Edge” exhibition opens at Ocean Galleries in Stone Harbor on Friday, July 19 and runs through Sunday, July 21. Guests can meet Harlan from 7:00 PM until 10:00 PM on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20, and from 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM on Sunday, July 21.  The exhibition is free and open daily from 10:00 AM until 10:00 PM throughout the weekend, with all artwork in the collection available for acquisition.

In addition to an extraordinary collection of artwork and custom-framing, Ocean Galleries also offers a variety of hand-made crafts from local, regional, and national artists in America, such as glass, pottery, jewelry, and furniture.  All summer exhibitions take place at the Stone Harbor location of Ocean Galleries (9618 Third Avenue). Ocean Galleries also has an Avalon, NJ location at 2199 Ocean Drive. For seasonal hours at both gallery locations, call 609-368-7777 or visit Locations and Hours

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“Stephen Harlan – Water’s Edge”


For more information on the exhibit, visit Groundbreaking Digital Artist, Stephen Harlan, Makes First Time Appearance at Ocean Galleries

To listen as Mary Roth interviews Stephen Harlan for her Thursday afternoon radio show, Artists with a Purpose, on WCFA 101.5, click here.

Established in 1986, Ocean Galleries is a distinguished fine art gallery and custom-framing retailer with locations in Avalon and Stone Harbor, New Jersey. We represent national and local artists, originals and fine art reproductions; with a mission of personally introducing our clientele to the fine artists and their coveted artwork. Ocean Galleries is considered one of the best custom framing operations in the industry for quality and design, with all framing done in-house. Ocean Galleries also offers a wide variety of hand-crafted items such as glass, jewelry, and furniture. Over the years, the gallery has become nationally known for hosting renowned artists such as Peter Max, Josef Kote, Autumn de Forest, Romero Britto, Charles Fazzino, Graham Nash, Ringo Starr, Hessam, Aldo Luongo, Jane Seymour, Don Hatfield, Howard Behrens, Jiang, Wyland, Viktor Shvaiko, Sam Park, and many others. As a regional and national dealer to individuals and corporate collectors, Ocean Galleries promotes artists with extraordinary abilities and established value, while practicing the highest standards of credibility and integrity in a comfortable and unpretentious atmosphere.  For more information and store hours, visit