Leslie L.

I haven't finished my biographical info. I've made it to high school but that was about a million years ago. Still hacking away at it.

1) General trends with my history that I'm noting:

I never had any adult that I can remember tell me that it's okay for an endeavor to be difficult. No one said, "Trying to do something difficult that feels out of reach isn't an indication that it is impossible. It just means that you need to keep working." I know that it is more important for children to be praised for their hard work over their talent since talent is something that is hard to categorize and "feel." Whereas effort is something that can be quantified. I was praised for talent (or discouraged from pursuing avenues due to lack thereof) but never for working hard. I think being praised for effort would have been more helpful for me in the long run.

I am someone who protects her thoughts and feelings because my external life was something I had little control over.

I am a restless person. I changed schools a lot between kindergarten and college. Moving to a new place (whether it was a new town or just a new school) meant a new world of possibilities and a chance to start over. I haven't moved homes for nearly 20 years. However, I've changed jobs a lot (usually as a result of some sort of negative upheaval). I wonder whether my frequent changing of art mediums is just another expression of that restlessness.

2) How I work and what I love to do:

I work in spurts - I prefer longer sessions since 15 minutes here and there feels like I can't accomplish much (this may be my own perception, since sometimes I actually get a lot done in a few minutes). I often start at the computer (or even further back with a camera). I choose a group of images to work from, usually based on a theme or visual element. From there I may manipulate the image(s) in Photoshop - pulling out elements, combining pictures to make something new. I then print it on media (fabric, paper, transparencies, etc). From there, I build on the initial image since that rarely feels like enough. I like to have my hands on something physical (pixels don't cut it). I'll use embroidery, the sewing machine, pen, wax, paints, etc. to build up something more tactile. I tend to work on more than one piece at a time and often neglect to finish something because that's much more finicky and particular and not nearly as much fun as making.

Occasionally, I will work in more sculptural ways - away from photos. I'll create objects from polymer clay or make heads with papier mache. I love working with these more tactile mediums but I don't dedicate tons of time to them. I tend to get a bee in my bonnet and pursue it until it's finished and then I go back to the same old same old.

3) What I care about:

  • Abandoned places
  • The West as a symbol of escape and freedom and then the ruins and detritus of the broken dream. Boom and bust.
  • Death as an ever-present, inevitable event, always looming.
  • Captivity of humans and how it's possible to remain unfettered in one's mind. The freedom of the internal self despite the imprisoned body.
  • The beauty of the empty landscape.