Leonardo Drew Interview

We had the pleasure of meeting artist Leonardo Drew last week and get a small glimpse into his world of endless possibilities. He video called from his NYC based studio and continued to work on his pieces throughout the conversation. As time passed, Leo explained to us how he doesn’t rely on a single narrative, but rather the process of making chaos legible to create his pieces, which was very interesting for me to hear about.

By “making chaos legible”, Leo’s primary focus is working through his medium to create, but doesn’t necessarily have an end goal. Some artists work through a medium to focus on a general narrative, but Leo is focused on the universal application of the presentation of a medium, which make his pieces conceptually versatile and almost timeless. By working with this process, he is able to achieve his goals of reaching the human collective, and show the psychological connectivity between viewers. I am very interested in creating pieces with both a strong narrative but a universal application, and it always helps me to see how other artists accomplish similar goals.

Leo also mentioned that at a single point, he could be working on a minimum of 7 projects at a time, and they just rotate in and out as he feels they are ready to leave the studio. He also said that the pieces help each other develop, which I found extremely interesting. Even though I tend to work with similar style and application between my pieces, I have a hard time focusing on more than one piece at a time because I work very closely with a distinct narrative. In order to achieve a general theme, it may be helpful to adapt Leo’s process and have the pieces work and help each other. I believe the main goal is just to create without hesitation, and to let the narrative form itself as the project progresses, which I believe is a more healthy way of approaching a piece (sometimes) rather than fretting over every aspect and detail before even thinking about materials.

Towards the end of the class meeting, I mentioned that Leo is one of the people in life that no one can truly know because he is constantly finding ways to create, think, and exist differently. Nothing is planned, but rather absorbed in the moment. Leo said that since he can’t travel physically because of Covid-19, he travels metaphysically, and that alone keeps him creating without stop or hesitation. Even though my style and focus is different from his, Leo’s way of describing his art, his process, and what it meant to be an “art addict” all his life helped me to see my own work and process in a new and fresh perspective