With Halloween on the way and myself with a healthy admiration and appreciation for the darker side of things, I thought a week of creepy but classy art might be in order. Can something be classy and creepy? I definitely think so. I might even have some cutesy creepy to toss in for levity. Which also brings up the question–can anything really be cute and creepy at the same time? I guess we’ll see what I can come up with!
I am traveling today, making my way home to Colorado from the Kentucky retreat, where I stayed a little ways outside Nashville with a fellow retreat attendee. My mind has been trying to take in and sort all that I saw, learned, and experienced the last four days, but visually I keep thinking of one artist’s work in particular. Since her art also fits the theme this week, I thought I’d share a little Leslie Blackford with you today.
Leslie’s work is pure expression and very original. One of the talks I gave during the retreat was on developing a personal artistic voice, and Leslie came up as a prime example of what it is for an artist to have that particular voice that is a direct reflection of oneself. Funny thing is, although her work is a bit dark and even disturbing at times, Leslie is this adorable, generous, very kind and lively person. However, her work reflects something not on the surface but underneath. As one attendee said, there has to be a story behind each thing she makes and you just want to sit down and hear it.
There is a simultaneous reaction to these–they feel somehow both cute and disturbing. On her DeviantArt page this photo is titled “Off with Your Head,” not to refer to it in the macabre sense but rather because the heads are interchangeable. But between the title and the slightly off and mostly unfathomable expression of the various heads, one gets the feeling that all is not well in Wonderland, or wherever such creatures might reside. I know her work is not for everyone, but there is something about it that draws you in, especially if you get to see it in person. There is just so much personality, emotion, and raw expression in her work. Her artistic voice is one of the strongest I have had the pleasure of seeing in person, particularly in polymer.
For more expressive classy and beautifully dark work, take a look at Leslie’s CraftArtEdu classes, her Deviant art pages or her website, Moodywoods.