John Harris (born 29 July 1948 in London, England) is a British painter and illustrator, best known for working in the science fiction genre. His paintings have been used on book covers for many science fiction authors, including Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, Ben Bova, Orson Scott Card and Jack Vance. John Harris began painting aged 14 and entered Luton College of Art at 16. After completing a foundation course, he entered the Fine Art course at Exeter University in 1967 to study painting. Graduating in 1970 he traveled and studied transcendental meditation in India, and surrounding provinces, for six years. On return to England in 1976 Harris began producing paintings with the common theme of monumental scale and space. In the late 1970s he joined Young Artists, a talent agency that also represented fellow science fiction illustrators Chris Foss, Jim Burns, and Peter Elson.
From that point he has specialised large-scale commissions for companies such as Philips Electronics and Shell, as well as illustrations for science fiction novels, including Jack McDevitt’s Nebula Award-winning Seeker. His painting MASS: The Building of FTL1 was used by Psygnosis for the cover of their 1990 video game Awesome.
During the early 1980s he was commissioned by Sinclair Research to produce cover art for the user manuals of the Sinclair ZX-81, and ZX Spectrum home computers.
In 1984 John Harris visited the United States for the first time and on visiting NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre he was honored to be the first British artist to be invited to record the shuttle launch in a painting. That work is now part of the Smithsonian Collection.
In 2000 Paper Tiger Books published a collection of his work, Mass.
Rainmaker Entertainment based in Vancouver, hired Harris in 2007, to help work on the The Weinstein Company’s movie, Escape from Planet Earth.John Harris currently lives in Devon, England.