Makiko Harris (b. 1989, The Netherlands) is a Japanese and American multi-disciplinary visual artist, designer and musician. She lives and works between London and San Francisco.
Informed by her cultural research, academic background in feminist philosophies, and personal experiences as a multiracial woman, her work imagines a future in which fetishized and marginalized bodies become empowered. Harris’ large-scale paintings, site-specific installations, metal sculptures and experimental sound works come together as immersive environments that challenge viewers to think critically about their own roles in power dynamics. Her work has been exhibited and collected internationally, including a 2023 screening of her short film, Circle Burn, at the Tate Modern’s Beyond Surface festival.
As a musician, Harris is a classically-trained violinist. She has been featured on NPR’s From the Top and won Festival Grand Champion with the Orchestra de Camera in the U.S. National Orchestra Festival. More recently, Harris has been experimenting with new genres. She released her debut album Rise in 2018 with San Francisco synth-pop project Great Highway, with whom she toured to Los Angeles and South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Harris is preparing to release her debut solo EP concurrently with RCA2023. The album features Filter House/Nu Disco-style production and incorporates improvisational violin and field recordings from her family home in Hokkaido, Japan.
Harris received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Studio Art at Tufts University in Boston, with eminent feminist scholar and department chair Nancy Bauer as her advisor. From 2012 to 2020 she continued her study of painting at the California College of Arts with abstract artist Patrick Dintino, and was selected as the featured artist for San Francisco Symphony’s 21-22 campaign. Passionate about community-building and representation within the arts, in 2021 Harris founded and co-chaired the inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee for arts nonprofit Root Division in San Francisco, CA. She previously worked in costume design on film sets (Law and Order SVU, Spiderman) and in fashion merchandising (Gap). Since 2015, concurrent to her art practice, Harris has been the founder and director of digital product design agency Silent Howl Studios. The agency specializes in empathic and insights-driven human-centered design, with clients including Uber, Sephora, Fenty Beauty by Rihanna and Marc Jacobs.
Inspired by the power of creative practice in giving agency to the maker as well as sparking conversations amongst viewers that may lead to societal change, Harris’ multi-disciplinary visual art, design work, and music have been seen and heard around the globe.