Mater Dei High School

Art is in your backyard: Interview with artist Harold Greene

Art comes in all forms, but one form that isn’t exactly common is the craft of woodwork and furniture making. Furniture maker Harold Greene breaks down that barrier in the COLA (City of Los Angeles) Individual Artist Fellowship Exhibition in Barnsdall Park from May 17 to June 28. For more than 30 years, Greene has been producing furniture out of unique woods that he finds from around the world.


After several years of applying, this year he proudly presents his work in the COLA’s Department of Cultural Affairs Exhibition, which is currently being held at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) in Barnsdall Park from May 17 to June 28. COLA is an annual grant given to mid-career and emerging artists.

“It’s highly competitive and I was really happy to get it,” said Greene.

His exhibit in COLA contains his furniture specifically made out of woods from local Los Angeles trees, which were planted around the same time he was born. He explains, “The wood from furniture doesn’t have to come from some distant place. It can actually come from your backyard.”

When he moved into his empty apartment in his twenties, Greene began creating wooden furniture. He believed that making his own practical furniture was a “necessity” in order to form a comfortable living space.

One of his favorite pieces of his own is named “Settee,” which was created with American Elm, Sycamore, Ash, and Carob Wood.


Greene also briefly explained his great grandfather’s story of being a slave in Arkansas towards the end of the emancipation proclamation.

“My dream project is to travel to Arkansas to harvest some of the wood and make pieces in honor of my great grandfather… and also to tell the story of my family history and all of his ancestors.”

You can learn more about Harold Greene and his furniture at