Inside A Generous Kingdom V & Deepening the mystery with artist, Leonard Greco
"...it is only in the making that I best understand my intention(myself)…if at all, "
How does your work interact with the theme of “A Generous Kingdom V: Art that Explores Story, Symbolism, and Beyond”?
In its being of a liminal space I feel my work is suited to the theme, a theme as ambiguous as my work. My studio-craft being highly personal, employing archetypes universal and of my own invention, there is a generosity in the breadth of interpretation afforded. Most frequently it is only in the making that I best understand my intention myself…if at all.
Does the idea of transformation influence your work and process?
Although I approach my work with copious sketches and preliminary drawings, in the end, I follow the path that I am led to. My careful forethought, while a helpful guide, will inevitably be transformed by what the medium and my inner world dictates. Frequently I rely upon the automatic technique set about by our surrealist ancestors.
What draws you to the medium you chose? And tell us a little about your process (I don’t believe in giving it all away).
I work in several mediums, needle and thread, pencil and brushwork (oil and gouache primarily). All are essential to one another, interacting and communicating with one another. I doodle obsessively
and mindlessly automatic, what emerges often proves an unconscious inspiration far beyond the primitive scrawl.
What are the strengths of the medium? What are the challenges?
Oil paint is a gorgeous material and a terrible task master, oil requires patience, craft and faith. My inclination is to push through a project, maniacally manipulating the medium (fast drying gouache satisfies that feverish inclination), but oil by its nature slows me down. I am not a slap-dash painter; I desire the lapidary finish of the Northern painters. With oil I must slow my pace to satisfy that aim, often needing to allow the work to reveal itself, frequently needing to drape the easel for the evening when paint begins to turn to mud, possessing the faith that all will, in the end, come together. With stitch work, all is great joy, I simply make, allowing the material, nearly always recycled thrift
store finds, to embody itself. It is a great deal of fun to stitch bright and colorful fabric; needlework is a gentle forgiving mistress. In picking up needle and thread, immediately I feel centered and at peace. But both practices depend upon one another, informing one another, chatting with one another. Like a
parent, I could not choose which I favor.
Who inspires you? And What do you do to get inspired?
A great deal inspires me. Like many artists of my sort, myth and folklore, I am particularly interested in the folk traditions of the British and the Celts, but Classical references as well. Jung of course. As a practicing Roman Catholic, I draw a great deal of inspiration from the Church’s traditions and history. In my biased opinion, Catholicism is one the most mystical religious tradition around today, one of miracles, drama, spectacle, beauty and transformation; I feel if I weren’t Catholic, I might very well
have not become an artist. Having been raised quite poor, art was not in my day to day survival reality, it was the weekly Mass with its theatre and otherworldly space that inspired and offered alternative luminous realities. I am also fortunate to experience quite regularly, a rich and quixotic dreamlife, a liminal space that runs parallel to this reality and provides regular inspiration.
If you could have coffee or tea with any artist who would you pick? What would you have coffee or tea? What would you ask that artist?
Such an easy question, without hesitation, the great Leonora Carrington, we share a given name and she is without a doubt the artist that inspires me most. Famously adamant about not explaining her work, a sentiment I share, I would avoid that touchy topic altogether and instead focus upon fairy folk, familiars, conjurings and just how strong to brew the tea. I’d also dig up my most dazzling ashtray and join her for a cigarette (it would be my first, so I’d probably cough quite embarrassingly).
What do you hope your work achieves, in general, and/or specifically with this installation?
...hopefully it pleases the eye, strikes some nerve of curiosity and causes the viewer to lean in a bit closer and pause for a moment in this dehumanizingly accelerated, attention span deficient world.
What recently made you smile?
My pug Viola, she possesses fifteen years of perfecting goofy.
What recently made you cry?
Viola is the last of my animal family, initially my husband and I had three cats and three dogs, a year ago the last two dogs, a sweet-tempered Chihuahua named Speck and a feisty three-legged pug named Rose, died one after another. They, especially frail Rose, were my heart, I feel their presence near daily.
If you could tell your viewers one thing, what would you tell them?
Please take an extra moment or two in looking at my work. It is dense I understand that, please be patient; it is complicated, but aren’t we all? ; it is at times awkwardly composed, I apologize for that, I am untrained, I do the best I can with what I am given , but it is all true to my heart and I’d like to share that with you.