How can you describe art that you love? It’s difficult, because, how can you describe beauty, or an emotion? A few months ago I discovered an illustration that I found so beautiful and profoundly emotional that it’s stayed with me ever since and I felt I had to learn more about the artist behind it. The illustration is called “Abstractions Aside” (fourth one below) and the author is Leigh Viner, a multi-talented artist who creates in many fields of the art world, from illustration and painting, to photography. Her style is so distinctive from anything I’ve seen and one of the things I love the most about her works is her incredible ease in capturing the femininity in her women subjects. I contacted Leigh for an interview for Classiq and I was so happy that she kindly accepted my invitation. Thank you, Leigh.
1. The first thing that comes to my mind when I look at your works is ‘grace’. Who has influenced your drawing style and how did you develop your style?
My style definitely has grown with me throughout the years as I experiment and grow to know what feels right, but my greatest influence by far has been David Downton. I have always enjoyed his fashion illustrations and still do. Also Cecil Beaton and Rene Gruau to name just a few. There is endless inspiration out there for me, whether it be another artist, photographer or from a film I am watching. I just know I love to experiment and create in the moment of what may be inspiring me each day.
2. Which are the most important projects you’ve worked on?
All of my projects are important to me, each one is special in its own right. May it be a commission for a large company or for an individual client, or even for my readers on my blog, I definitely take each one as I am creating it as the most important piece.
3. How much does fashion influence your work?
Fashion influences my work in many ways. Fashion along with drawing to express myself at a young age has naturally been there as far back as I can remember. I am basically still doing what I was doing as a little girl by finding inspiration in fashion magazines, runway and creating from what grabs my senses and inspires. I also have always wanted to be a fashion designer as well, and who knows, anything is possible. I wake up everyday and am just in awe that I am actually doing exactly what I love and want to do everyday, full time at that. Just this morning as I was getting my blog together and starting a new illustration I told myself, I cannot believe this is my job!! It has taken years to get here, I will never take it for granted.
4. Illustration in general, and fashion illustration in particular, is a beautiful art-form, but is it a dying art? Is there a chance to put fashion illustration back on the map, maybe in response to this age of overly digitized fashion photography?
I agree, a very beautiful art form that I think grabs the subject matter entirely differently, but complimentary to fashion photography. I do not see it as a dying art form only because I live it each day, so it is always there. I may be biased to even see it as a dying art.
5. Are are you considering extending your portfolio towards other artistic areas?
I actually create with many different forms. I paint oil on canvas as what was done with “Paolo Roversi Series 1”, to watercolor, pens, pastels and charcoals on paper. I am working with acrylic now for my next piece, which I used to do more often, “Push” was created using acrylic. It just depends on the mood and what feels right in the moment. I love to just go with the flow while creating. As far as extending, I have just picked up some rice paper to experiment with this week and excited to see what may come of it. I think it is so important to not only stick with what you love and what works but to grow continually and experiment, as experimentation is exactly what has brought me here today doing what I love full time.
6. And a little more different question: What are you the most proud of at the end of the day?
My sweet, wonderful 9 year old daughter Braelynn!! As long as she is happy, so am I.
Leigh Viner’s work is currently available for purchase in her Etsy shop, Leigh Viner on Etsy (there’s nothing I love to give or receive more as a gift, besides books). She also has a blog, Create, where she reveals her thoughts and inspirations behind her work.
Happy Monday and have a wonderful week!
photos: courtesy of Leigh Viner, published with permission