Leon has done it again! What another great exhibition at his compact but knockout gallery space in Surry Hills, Friends of Leon. Recently opened is the show Constellations by New York artist Sara Blake. Curvy magazine hailed her as one of the "Top 100 female graphic designers and illustrators in the world". Her work has featured in The New Yorker and in conjunction with brands such as Grey Goose and Bacardi.
Which five words best describe you? Dreamer, obsessive, determined, stubborn, introverted.
What was your first career/job and what path have you taken since? My first job was working as a production assistant for a small interactive agency called Engine Three which specialises mainly in digital work for fashion clients. I continued climbing up through agencies but still felt something was creatively missing. I ended up taking a bit of time off in between jobs to start exploring illustration more. It took quite a bit of trial and error to start getting a feel for what was right and felt natural. I still needed to build a lot of momentum, so I went back to work in agencies full time while juggling illustration on the side. I'm still doing that today, and though extremely exhausting, I also feel extremely lucky to live that double life and support myself and the things that I love.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Love keeps us going no matter what. Corny, but it's the only truth I've got figured out in this life.
What’s your proudest career achievement? It's constantly changing. I'm so happy that I keep having to up the ante! First it was getting into my college. Then it was acceptance into the Keystone Design Union, then it was my first solo gallery show with the Friends of Leon Gallery in Sydney. Then it was a nomination to speak at Mexico's Design Week. All of have been very unexpected, somewhat baffling, and ultimately more motivating to conquer the next thing, whatever it may be.
What was the starting point for this exhibition? Some journal entries, a playlist in iTunes, my city, and some residual heartache. The show's name is "Constellations", and the work is intentionally a bit disparate. However, as the name suggests, everything is connected by certain rules and quality — texture, colour, and linework. This allowed a bit of freedom to play with subject matter, and also stayed truer to how I work overall... very impulsive and freestyle, but all marked with the same hand.
What’s been your best decision? Most of those big decisions get made for me somehow, either by fate or some mistake I make. They work themselves out. I think most of my most valuable lessons and moments that changed the course of my life, (usually for the better), have come from big, ugly mistakes.
Who inspires you? My very few but beloved friends. Beautiful strangers. My colleagues in the KDU and Depthcore. Fashion. Music. NYC. Texture. And overall just the stuff of everyday life we don't think very much of at the time.
What are you passionate about? Making stuff, design, running, the man I love, trying to figure out the next thing, music, my stupid cats.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I'm pretty happy with the people I've already got. Besides, idols are always better in your imagination anyway, aren't they? I guess if I really had to choose, it would be Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. I've had a crush on him since I was 13. Do fictitious people count?
What dream do you still want to fulfil? My dream has always been to figure out how to take care of myself completely by drawing things.
What are you reading? Blogs. Books with pictures. My inbox. I love reading, but I I don't have any free time, so I opt for an extra hour of sleep before picking up a book. I really miss getting into a good read though — hopefully my long flight from NYC to Sydney for the gallery show can help resurrect my old reading habits.