We're thrilled to be featuring one of the many talented folks based here in Austin for this week's artist interview. I became familiar with Leah Duncan's work when my roommate Sara added one of her charming prints to our growing collection of bear art, which is getting quite impressive! Her illustrations, which can be found on a variety of textiles, home goods, and paper products in her shop, feature colorful patterns and elements of nature, from mountains and flowers to swans and jack rabbits. You can read more about Leah on her blog.
How would you describe the creative community in Austin? How has your location influenced your work?
The creative community in Austin is very vibrant and diverse, yet I think there's still a sort of "Austin" feel that you get from artists who live and work here. That certainly comes from the colors and sights of our surroundings. I live in east Austin which has brought a unique voice to my work in my color palettes, style, and themes I've explored.
Can you elaborate on your creative process from the idea of a project to the final piece?
The creative process can be ever so messy and fulfilling at the same time! It normally starts with a thought, a moment, or an idea that I want to communicate which inspires me to make. Sometimes it comes out easily, other times it's a grueling process and I begin to panic because my thoughts and vision are not the reality of my work. If I do end up in a panic situation though, I've learned that it too is a part of the process, and once I get through it I generally end up with something even better than my original idea. It's always a tiny bit agonizing in the beginning, because I so want it to work out perfectly.
Do you have any advice for people hoping to teach themselves creative techniques? Are there any easy craft projects you can recommend?
I learn best by doing, so I'd say if you're interested in something give yourself time to try it and work through the process. Sewing is actually quite easy and sewing machines don't cost much! They're also super handy when you need to hem your pants.
Do you have a favorite piece or project that you have completed?
They're all a small part of me, so it's hard to choose just one. I think my favorite drawing recently has been "I'll be your swan". It's one of those pieces that happened perfectly without too much effort and it makes me smile every time I see it.
What can we expect to see from you in the next few months? Do you have any dream collaborations or projects (however unlikely!) that you would like to accomplish in the long-term?
I have a fabric line that will be released through Anthology fabrics in February, which has always been a dream of mine. I'm also working on a few collaborations with fellow artists, including Austin local Sarah Wymer of Studio SloMo. In the long term I'd like to open a brick and mortar shop, keep expanding my home goods line, and create an overall recognizable brand of my work. All very possible dreams. If I'm going for an unlikely dream it would be to do album artwork for Arcade Fire. : )