Thursday, March 27, 2014

In Conversation... Leo Greenfield

Rose Street, Fitzroy
One of Leo Greenfield's works on display as part of FIXATION


Leo Greenfield has a longtime connection with Town Hall Gallery.  Visitors may remember his beautiful drawings as part of the Beardo exhibition in 2010.  Leo's love for people watching and fashion is evident in his watercolour sketches in Fixation.

Leo goes on to tell us a little bit more about what he is up to now.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

My name is Leo Greenfield and I am an artist who's practice begins with drawing. One of my main projects is creating drawings of people inspired by real street life and posting them on my website; www.leogreenfield.com. I have been working on this body of work since 2008. I am currently based in a studio in East London, but I am from a farm in the South East of South Australia.

This is were my adventure with art began, thanks to a wonderful art teacher at my primary school. Since then my interest in art has seen me live and study in Japan, work as curator and complete a Bachelor of Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts.


HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK? WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU WORK IN?

For this exhibition at the Town Hall Gallery I have explored my interest in drawings with inks and watercolours.

My work is about observation and documentation without the use of a camera; through drawing I seek to create impressions of our social landscape.  Even though I am inspired by fleeting moments and glimpses of street life, I am very interested in giving my drawings materiality and weight. Therefore the materials I use are of great importance; fine and textured papers, variant and tactile inks and washes of watercolour, are all elements that I experiment with to develop my work. 


WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORK IN THE MEDIUM THAT YOU DO?

I've loved drawing since I was a little kid. I lived on a farm and in the winter I would sit and draw a lot. My Grandma particularly encouraged me, we would sit and paint using watercolours and I loved it. I have never lost that feeling of wanting to just sit and draw. This personal history and memory exists in the material I use, and the way I use them, it’s as if they have a DNA. In Japan I explored these idea further as I studied traditional ink painting, to me it has a similar feel to using watercolours. 

I am also very interested in the idea of memory and telling stories, this is my main philosophy. My drawings come from my love of letter writing and keeping journals since I was a teenager, for this type of work these materials are perfect.  I love the process of drawing using inks on paper, often to then post them off in a letter. I see my blog as contemporary site for this kind of story telling, for me its recounting memory through drawing. 


WHAT ACHIEVEMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF TO DATE?

Working for Vogue is something that I have wanted to do since I was a teenager. So I was pretty proud walking off to work at the office each day during this commission. It was a honour to be artist in residence at the office of Vogue, and meet all the wonderful women that make the magazine such an iconic publication. Seeing the drawings printed in the magazine was the icing on the cake!


IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANOTHER ARTIST, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? WHO INSPIRES YOU?

The list of people who inspire me goes on and on; Artists, Film makers, Writers, Journalists, it’s so hard to choose.

But right now, I would be very interested in working from the studio of Jean Paul Gaultier, to re-create the traditional idea of the fashion illustrator as a contemporary documenter and artist. This would be a dream come true because I have long been fascinated by Gaultier's vision that to me celebrates diversity with equal measures of humour and glamour.


WHAT'S YOUR WORK PRACTICE LIKE? DO YOU WORK IN A STUDIO/HOME? WHAT GETS YOU IN THE MOOD TO CREATE?

I like to walk to the studio, which at the moment involves a fantastic little hike from my apartment through London Fields, and its when walking that I usually get inspired by different looks from the street. People rushing to work are the most fashionable people in the world. When I get into the studio I start to draw, it might be a memory from a few minutes ago or an idea of a scene from months or even years before. I work on what impresses me most, what sticks in my memory or what feels fresh and contemporary. I also like to do interviews and meet and chat to create a portrait. I usually sketch during these meeting, but will then start afresh work once back in the studio. 


IS THERE A SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR CREATIVITY? DO YOU HAVE MUSIC OR SILENCE?

Pod casts are best friends in the Studio and This American Life is my ultimate source of studio inspiration and fuel. It feeds my work and keeps me company while I draw. 


WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN 10 YEARS TIME? WHAT'S YOUR DREAM?
I would be thrilled to know I am still working on my art practice, still experimenting and developing new works and ways of seeing.


No comments: