A few months ago, I first came across Leah Goren's work on one of my favorite blogs, Commas and Clauses, and have been following her ever since. I was immediately drawn to the simplicity of her illustrations and fashion designs, along with all the fun shapes & bright colors, and how you can just tell by looking at her paintings how much she loves & enjoys her work. Leah was kind enough to let us do a mini interview with her over the weekend and elaborated on her processes and inspirations (two things I'm always fascinated about). You can find more of her work on her website, blog, & etsy shop.
I grew up in Southern California and its plants, colors, and sunlight inspire a lot of my work. I'm living in San Diego all summer, and I've been looking a lot at florals and the plant life of local gardens. I really just try to do a lot of looking and seeing of everything around me! I spend a ton of time on blogs and in books. I'm most drawn to artists and illustrators that are heavy on flat color and patterns. Sonia Delaunay is one my favorite artists from the past, as is Vera Neumann, Gunta Stölzl, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Matisse. From today I love Maira Kalman, Leanne Shapton, and Tina Berning, just to name a few.
Can you elaborate at all on your creative process? (from the idea of a project to the final piece)
My creative process depends on whether I have an assignment or not. If there is an intended outcome, say a food truck I had to design for school, or an bear-print textile for a recent commission, I use a brush (Windsor Newton Scepter Series 7 #2 - the best!) and black ink. Then I scan my drawing and use Photoshop to arrange the composition and color it. If I'm just drawing or painting for fun, I use scraps of paper (pink grainy construction paper is my absolute favorite, but also nice cotton rag paper) or my sketchbook. I still almost always use brush and ink, but I also love gouache and Dr. Martins watercolors.What prompted you to jump from illustration into textile and fashion design? Or have the two always been intertwined?
I originally wanted to study fashion design in school, but changed my mind when I found so many ways I didn't relate to the fashion industry. I did internships in the field in Los Angeles and New York, and I knew that commercial world was not for me. Since then I've found what I love about fashion - the colors, shapes, textures of fabric, and pretty girls - in my illustration work. Illustration is amazing because it's really just image making and can be applied to almost any surface. I don't have to be caught in one industry or niche, I can make whatever I want. Creating fabrics and repeat patterns is a recent progression for me that I am very excited about. Creating clothing, though, is something I will eventually grow out of, as much as I love making things for girls all around the world through Etsy. My dream job would be designing prints and graphics for a clothing designer, but having no part in the design and production of the garments themselves.
Do you have any big upcoming projects / pieces planned? Or, do you see yourself going in a more commercialized direction with your art in the future?
I'm still a student and I don't have any big projects coming my way yet, aside from lots of Etsy orders thanks to my recent and minor internet popularity (ha). My senior thesis is coming up this fall though! I definitely hope to become commercially successful, it is very important to me to create beautiful products and images that can be used or enjoyed by everyone.
Thanks so much again, Leah!