Artist’s Spotlight: @justleoart !

This week’s artist’s spotlight is on @justleoart:

  1. Tell me a little about yourself:

“Hello Lady Cult and readers: I’m a British artist, born and living in London to a Scottish Mum and a Welsh Dad.  I’m a Dad too and would-be husband (COVID-19 19 messed up our wedding plans this year).  I’ve been drawing and into art ever since I can remember and I guess I’ve been lucky to find that “thing” that  makes me happy from an early age. That being said, I have not crossed over into the full time  artist category. Although over the years I have successfully monetized my creativity on more  than a few occasions I haven’t made it consistently enough to cover the cost of living.  I’m doing my best to work towards changing that. I’m not the best at labelling my art or art style, but I guess you could call it graphic art, or illustration. I enjoy painting murals & trainers (that’s sneakers to US readers & basically everyone else around the  world). For over 10 years I’ve been selling my art on footwear under the project name “T R I P L E Z E D”  you can see more of that project over at triplezed.com

One of my favorite things to do is to create quick observational impressions in my travel sketch books which come out with me when I’m out & about .

 

A bittersweet memory for me was creating this sketch which I did the day David Bowie passed away. I rode down to Bowies’ home town Brixton and there were mass crowds surrounding the mural of him. People were singing songs, writing on the walls, drinking, crying, leaving flowers etc. I got chatting to a guy called Bertran who was charging the press to enter the housing opposite the mural to take photographs  (he later told me he didn’t actually live there lol). He let me in and we walked up to the top floor, chatted more about David Bowie whilst I drew and he drank/smoked all whilst looking over at this scene. This year I started my animation journey. From being someone who has been a fan of the medium since childhood, admired the process and even completed a few little animations in the past; I simply haven’t done enough of it.  I am excited to talk about this little animation project with  you & appreciate the interest.

2.  How did you come up with the concept of drawing 31 haunted creatures for the month of October?

“I’m someone who enjoys drawing but when I’m not working in a creative environment, I sometimes find myself stuck in a place where I’m not seeing any progression in my work. A popular exercise I learnt to sharpen the skill-set is to start a “drawing a day challenge”. My first one of these exercises was in October 2017 and as October is of course the month of Halloween I set  myself the task of drawing these haunted creatures every day for a month.  Fast forward 3 years and I’m trying to animate them all before the year is through.  As of this interview I’m half way through the challenge completing 16 little animation loops with another 15  to go. (if only I didn’t have to go into work during lockdown).”

3. Can you talk about your top 3 favorite haunted creatures you drew for this project and what was the inspiration behind them?

Well I love this little guy, when I see him, I immediately think of my son. I had recorded my little boy making roaring noises on my phone (aged 23 months). It was so much fun adding his voice to the animation and  watching the finished result. You can see all the animation loops with sound on the Instagram & twitter account (@justleoart

“I’m really happy with how the animation turned out with this one. I figured out a way of mirroring the animation of the ghosts to make this smooth symmetrical thing going on. This project is a real chance for me to get familiar with & educate myself on the software I’ve got. (Flash Mx 2004).

The meme with a skeleton on a bench saying “still waiting for an apology” is inspiration for this one. Makes me laugh and I really enjoyed drawing out all those worms slithering around the place.”

4. Who are your top 3 inspirational figures that inspired this project and why?

” My number one animation inspiration, without a shadow of a doubt is the late great Richard Williams! He’s been a hero of mine since childhood when “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” came out in the cinema. I watched that film a lot as well as “the making of” tv spots and it just blew my tiny mind. When I was 7, I painted my first wall (my bedroom). My Dad and I worked together on it and taught me what a mural was.  The mural had loads of different cartoon characters including a big Roger Rabbit. I ended up writing a letter to Richard Williams to tell him how much I loved his work and included a photo of myself and the wall and to my surprise he actually wrote back! 

What you see here is his response! This piece of A4 paper is still my most treasured possession. I was able to meet Richard about 6 years ago at a talk and book signing at Foyles, London  (his book the animators survival kit is the gospel)  Although I was star struck, it was nice to show him the photo I sent him and his letter and tell him my story. 2 years ago I proposed to my fiancée outside Richards old animation studio in Soho square, London. Richard Williams R.I.P .

Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit Wallace and Gromit TM & © 2005 DreamWorks Animation LLC and DreamWorks LLC and TM & © 2005 Aardman Animations LTD. All Rights Reserved.

Another incredible animator and childhood inspiration is Nick Park (creator of “Creature Comforts” and “Wallace and Gromit”) He visited my local church in the late 80’s & brought a bunch of his plasticine creations with him. My mum took me out of school for the afternoon to go watch and listen to him talk about his work and this new film he was working on (The Wrong Trousers).  He was nice enough to sign my forever friends address book lol!! 

  Mike Judge is another big inspiration. The guy is a genius. Happy memories staying up late round my friend’s house to watch Beavis & Butthead on cable. His recent “Tales From The Tour Bus” has got to be some of my favorite viewing in a long time. I also think it’s worth mentioning I get inspired when I see creatives of any kind on social media completing projects and putting things out there. It’s very easy to start something, but to see it through with all that life can throw at you and actually get things completed is commendable.” 

5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“Well the website https://www.justleo.co.uk/ went live in January of this year (there was me thinking “2020 is going to be awesome!).  If you’ve liked what you’ve seen here and want to know what I’m getting up to please do sign up to the newsletter.   Once I’ve completed this animation challenge, they will be going up on YouTube as one big compilation and each individual character animation will be available for licensing for anyone needing visuals for projects. Also (Lady Cult exclusive) In the works is my first ‘zine. A collection of drawings in tribute to Prince  (aka the ‘Emperor of music’ as Stevie Wonder once said) The title is “Thank U Prince From Leo” and once its complete I will be sure to get in touch and send you a copy. Until then I would like to say thank you very much for sharing what I do on your platform, its greatly appreciated. 

All the very best .”

If you like to learn more about this artist. The following contact information is below:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/justleoart

Instagram: @justleoart

Website: https://www.justleo.co.uk/

Thank you so much for the interview!

Until next time!!

 

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