This week’s artist’s spotlight is on @leahsabatelliart !
- Tell me a little about yourself:
“Hello I’m Leah !
I’m a double Scorpio and a triple psycho (j/k hehe). I am an Illustrator living in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, with my tiny fur family and supportive partner. Although my main focus is art, I work part time at a Crystal shop in an antique mall- which can be quite fun and often provides some otherworldly and visual inspiration. My work is greatly influenced by Japanese Ghost Scrolls, Horror Manga, 60’s/70’s Italian Horror, sweet lil vintage Halloween Décor and of course nature.
As a child I always had been adamant about being a Vet but once I realized that meant sometimes operating on hurt animals or even “putting them down” I changed my tune (I guess I just thought the job entailed hanging out with animals all day) Once I recovered from my dashed Veterinarian dream I whole- heartedly threw myself into my artwork. School was tough for me since I was 100% on the ADHD train but Art was the one thing that came easily. I remained viciously on that path until college, earning my Associates Degree in Illustration from The Hussian School of Art in 2008.
I always did things my own way and that also went for how I got my art out there. Being a gallery artist was and still is a dream of mine. I was getting frustrated with having to pay to apply to shows that I wasn’t getting into so I took things into my own hands. I began selling my work on the streets of Old City during first Fridays. From the streets I moved onto being a part of some independent pop- up group art shows put on by various venues and artists : Sales Gaspillee, Dark Arts, Boot and Saddle, Tattooed Moms.
Since then I have curated three group art shows at Tattooed Moms on South Street, Philadelphia : my first show “Walpurgisnacht” in 2017, second “Grave Hallucinations” in 2017 and “Fever Dreams” in 2018. Also organizing the first ever group art show at Johnny Brenda’s “Astral Shadows” in 2018. My original works can be seen and are for sale at the “Upstairs Smoking Section” in The Dive Bar in Philly. I am so grateful for all of these venues giving me support to put on these events and am hoping to do more in the future, although it may be some time given the worlds’ current circumstances.”
2. What was the first piece you created?
“As I mentioned in the intro I have been creating since I was very young. I happen to be visiting my parents and they dug up a bunch of my old drawings which I will include a shot of. The one I’m looking at now is on construction paper and in crayon, I had drawn a black cat with a pretty tough look on his face and for some reason he is wearing a Batman costume and has very intense muscles.
This was probably drawn around the time Batman Returns came out because I had a huge crush on Batman and AND Catwoman and I just like cats in general. I do specifically remember drawing this in my grandma’s basement.
But my favorite first piece of art is from 2nd grade we had to make our own books and mine was about a bear. My most cherished image from that book is a bear standing next to a flower that is very BIG and has a human face- and in front of the bear is a blue mushroom that has angry eyebrows and the flower is saying “Ho no the bear!” I’m assuming I meant “Oh no” but like I said the ADHD is strong in this one.”
3. I’ve noticed some of your art has an eye mixed in with a fruit or vegetable- what made you choose produce and an eye as an art theme?
“This current theme of eyes in produce is new for me. My usual style is very planned out and detail oriented. This new style started a couple years ago when I made my final project for graduating my meditation course. I painted a big fleshy eye in a cloudy sky with an ouroboros around it. I didn’t plan this piece at all, it was something I would see when I meditated so I thought it would be perfect for the project. This was the first time ever done a style like that. So with currently having a part time job and trying to stay relevant on social media I try to create a new painting every week in order to keep in practice- and for whatever reason, doing the eyes is easy for me. I really enjoy picking out which fruit, vegetable or fungus I’ll be working on that day. It feels therapeutic and meditative, I like to take my time and see where the piece takes me.”
4. What has been your favorite series of art you created and why?
“My favorite is the Succubus series I did in 2014. It represents particularly difficult time in my life where I was going through a lot of changes and loss. I really identified with the Yurei ghost scrolls, they represented women who died in a violent manner, committed suicide or who were treated harshly during life , they would came back to get their revenge on those who wronged them.
In that time, creating these paintings was how I was working through the hurt I felt. I made these paintings all at once and you can see how they are tied together. Now I can look back on that as transformative time and am glad I made it through. I am hoping to revisit this style soon.”
5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?
” Yes! I’ve recently created an Esty shop: LeahSabatelliArt. It is only a few days old but I hope you guys will check it out! I’ll have my art prints, original paintings and handmade jewelry available!”
If you like to learn more about Leah and her art. The following contact information is below:
Esty store: Leah Sabetelli Art