Leony has been a dear friend of mine for over half a decade. I seriously don’t know what took so long to feature her in the Creative Spotlight. Born in Jakarta Indonesia her family migrated to America in 1988 and has resided in Orange County California ever since. A self taught artist, Leony discovered oil painting when she was just 6 years old. Recently, she just gave birth to a beautiful baby so I wanted to gain some perspective from an artist who is new to motherhood. Read below for the full interview:
Leony, tell my readers a bit about yourself and where your interest in art started?
Leony: My interest in art, really started from a really young age, I always loved drawing ever since I can remember. I loved colors… I remembered creating my first painting at seven years old and drawing at about four
You lived quite a bit in Santa Monica where it’s pretty well known as a tourist spot because of the significant job growth out there. As an artist did you experience any low periods when the economy was slower?
Leony: Oh my God, yeah!! Year 2006 I have to say was when it hit for me, I found myself broke, like out of cash at 30 yrs old practically living pay check to pay check, I was lucky to have a job then. I stopped painting as much cause, well,.. had to, it’s get a job or not eat. It’s pretty depressing.
You recently became a new mommy! What keeps you inspired and motivated to create while still being a mom?
Leony: Yes, I’m a mom now and I love being a new mommy. Im inspired to do well everyday.., because of my little one, everything is new to him, in his eyes I see the world.., he is my world now! Truly he inspired me to keep creating, and being a mommy is the greatest accomplishment one who creates could ever produce.
I’m aware you haven’t painted much recently. Did you know that with the birth of his son, John Lennon hung up his guitar for 7 years to spend time with his family? Do you feel that a brief hiatus that you two commonly share can hinder or help a passion?
Leony: I didn’t know Lennon did that, but thank you, I don’t feel so bad about me not painting for a while now. I think that if you surround yourself with creative people then, you’ll always keep that artistic passion, I’m guilty of not keeping that in order, being a full time mom keeps me on toes, I get so much joy out of being with my baby, I tend to forget I’m actually good at other things like painting
How was it as a young girl growing up in Indonesia? Did you find it to be a good place to become artistic as a young child?
Leony: All of my memories of my homeland, Indonesia, are all great ones, I remembered being in the plush of super green Rain forest, playing in the waterfalls, swimming in the most beautiful beaches.. I found it as paradise! I have included those thoughts of memories onto my canvases many many times.
Can we expect you to hit the art show scene again soon?
Leony: I am working on some new pieces right now, actually.. courtesy of Gianni, my sweet little boy as my Muse. This time around my art will be preciously… sweet! I’m looking to re-introduce myself in the scene by the end of this year.
What is it about oil painting that attracts you?
Leony: I loved all mediums, but differently with oil, I love the building process, yet I also enjoyed the shadows oil gives me, it gives me dimension, I liked the feeling like Im sculpting.., images onto canvas. When I first painted in oil as a child, I remembered liking the smell of the oils too, so each time I paint it’s like it takes me back… in time.
Switching gears, do you have any favorite Asian films?
Leony: Kung Fu movies were my favorites. I watched many of them with my family growing up, back in Indonesia especially. I don’t speak Japanese, but their actions, I loved watching that! Most have subtitles though, also I still remembered there was a Japanese TV series, show I watched everyday, called Oshin… I loved Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone who is a struggling artist and wants to promote themselves?
Leony: Well? I don’t have advice, because Im struggling too. All you can do is continue, to make art, live well, promote yourself until you make it.