art studio: leigh viner.

The illustrations of freelance artist and photographer Leigh Viner are obviously inspired by fashion, but the subjects aren't necessarily consumed by the idea of an ideal. There is an intentional absence of that inner conflict between runway and reality. Leigh has managed to capture strength and substance under the guise of subtle beauty seized by dramatic color. My interview with the artist follows…


NAME: Leigh Viner | HOME GROWN: Denver, Colorado | DAY JOB: Full time Freelance artist/Photographer | DREAM JOB: I am living my dream working as an artist.



Q & A.

JRL:  Your fashion illustrations depict subjects that seem aware of their beauty but not defined by it. If your illustrations could serve as either a reference or a reflection of how women see themselves, which one is more important to you? Why? 

LV:  I think you described it so well on how I create. Especially when I use editorial fashion as a reference, the images can be so perfected and with my art I want to portray and create a version of those images by taking that apart and pulling emotions and a vision of something I and the viewer can relate to. I had an art show in San Francisco called "Fashion Unraveled", that title alone is a good description of how I portray my work. I think reference and reflection can be both seen in my pieces and find they are both relevant to importance.  

JRL:  Your photography focuses on travel in the most intimate settings. Since your lens often reads like private journal entries, whose journal would you be interested in reading? Why? 

LV:  Thank you. As far as reading someone else's journal, there are quite a few. But on the top of my list would be those of the past, starting with Theodora, the Empress of the Byzantine Empire. I am referencing her as I am currently using that period as inspiration for some work and find her interesting. I wish I could dive into the story of her life as an actress and seductive performer before becoming the empress of Constantinople. Others would include the Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel, Rembrandt, Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel and a few currents, David Lynch, David Downton and Diane von Furstenberg.  

JRL:  The art of photography is unique in that it not only offers each of us significant connections to people and events, but it also finds beauty in the most unlikely spaces. What specific spaces do you visually identify with joy? Sorrow?

LV:  I find sorrow easier to identify with strangely, or it is possible that I am finding the beauty in the sorrow. For example, a black and white photo of a dying flower say on a cobbled stone street would be more beautiful to me then a bouquet of fresh flowers sitting on a table. I think the dying flower has more of a history to tell.  

JRL:  Imagine there are no cameras or canvases; your self portrait is a statement. Define yourself.

LV:  A dreamer, a person that loves for those I care about to feel loved and happy. I over think and over analyze far too often. If I could read all day with coffee I would. My love for my daughter and giving her the best life I can drives me to do my best every day.

JRL:  What's more important to you as an artist – if the audience connects with your work or if they actually understand your point of view?

LV:  I think it is more important that they connect with my work; I hope it relates to them in some way. If something I create can affect them in that way and they can then enjoy my work in their home to make it their own, that makes me happy.

Leigh's illustrations are available at her Etsy shop. Illustrations shown: Reign | Rumi | Draw the Line | 3.1 Phillip Lim inspired | Fragmentary | Hence | Envie | Lune | Maddelina

Illustrations + photography created by and provided courtesy of Leigh Viner.

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