I graduated in May of 2011 with a BFA in Studio Art and minor in Business Administration from University of Wisconsin- Stout. Born and raised in South Minneapolis, I returned back to the Twin Cities to establish myself as a working artist. Immediately after college, I started renting out a studio space at The Fallout Artist Coop, where I still work today. Most of my time currently is spent working on my new body of work, exhibiting a selection of paintings created in 2011, and doing commission work. Most recently, I have also started producing and selling prints.
Evade This End
Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
My work is taking a turn towards even more abstraction of the body, space, and color. In my piece, At Least We’re Dreaming, you can see the sort of development that I’m going to be building off of for my new work. In my previous paintings I have been motivated by implied narratives, human relationships, sexuality and gender roles- the pieces taking form in large scale figurative oil paintings. While my new work will stay in the realm of that life-size scale, the emotions I’m evoking in the pieces will be different. I’m constantly looking internally and at my own relationships for inspiration, and my new work grows from this exploration, and the exploration of identity and the human body.
You Talk Way Too Much
How did you decide to become an artist?
The funny thing is, I never really wanted to be an artist until college. I always knew I enjoyed art class and was alright at drawing and painting, but I was involved in so many things as a child (music, dance, acting, sports…) that I couldn’t really pin point what I wanted to do with my life. When heading to college, I intended to go into interior design. Becoming an artist really just fell into my lap once I realized in school that all of my fundamental art classes we’re my favorite, and I couldn’t imagine any other way I wanted to spend my time. I guess the choices I had made in life all pointed to me being an artist, without me ever knowing it.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I remember one of my painting professors telling me that if you’re stuck in a rut, to just start painting without thinking, and eventually what you’re trying to say will explain itself. That has helped me so many times when I’m over thinking everything, subject matter, paint color… Knowing that it is okay to mess up because the more you paint, the closer you’ll get to what you’re trying to say.
Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art. How do you sell your work? How do you market yourself?
I think one of the best ways besides having a website and exhibiting your work is word of mouth. I try to attend as many art events, openings, and exhibits as my schedule will allow. Also, get your friends talking! With a good portion of my commission work going to people I know, they then have something to show their friends, and the links continue to be created. I sell my work and prints on my website, and also post regularly about my work on my facebook and tumblr blog.
Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?
Staring June 1st I will have some pieces up at You and Me Fashion Boutique in South Minneapolis for their monthly rotation. I also plan on having a few pieces at The Soap Factory Volunteer Biennial titled KnownUnKnowns coming this December.
There are a few other shows in the works for the in between months, but because I’m starting on a new body of work, studio time is key for me at this point. You can also always view my artwork on my website which I update regularly. http://www.lesliebarlowart.com/.