Thursday, May 18, 2017

Interview with LEONARD GRECO

q)Walk us through an intimate day in your life

a)I awaken to three ornery dogs ( and a husband who isn't at all ornery ) eager to play , pee and eat . From there it's usually to the gym 
(or yoga) where I attempt some semblance of physical exertion (usually failing as I am eager to get to work ). From there the dogs and I head to the studio where I work until 9:30 or so, it's a full day , focused on making . My husband David , who is a psychoanalyst , sees patients late into the evening, this conveniently 
allows me the time to be a hermit . We end the day having a late dinner and reading a bit before calling it a night . All terribly dull and domestic but the predictability of my routine allows me to focus upon my work.

q) Where did you grow up/where do you live now and how does that contribute to your art?

a) I grew up in a dreary suburb of New Jersey . It was an unhappy home, one  of violence , poverty and abuse . When I left I strove to leave it behind,  LA where I live now, is pretty much as far as I can go without jumping into the Pacific. The instability and the violence of my childhood certainly influences my work . An aim of my practice is to seek the sacred in all things , with tenderness and empathy . The despised and the abject ( queer concerns , animal rights etc.) are compelling inspirations. 

q) What is your earliest memory that propelled you to create?

a) I mentioned how dreary my childhood home was but church was an escape . We were Roman Catholic, my father is Italian American , we went to an inner city church that was glorious. A 19th c. Gothic Revival pile . The art , the ritual , the music , were an aesthetic awakening.In my current studio practice I attempt to create a sense of immersive sacredness from those fond recollections.

q) Tell us a little bit about your creative process.

a)It's varied in its expression , it might be an oil painting, a relief print or something sewn . But all work starts from within , perhaps a passage from a poem or a familiar archetype. From there I "sketch" out the idea internally , until I can envision it fully . Only then do I put pencil to paper . Almost all of my work is fleshed out after internal imagining with rather meticulous renderings . It's a process, not a speedy one. Sometimes I bemoan not being more spontaneous, but I haven't that temperament I imagine .

q) How do you wish for your art to be perceived?

a) I'm not sure , it's all so new . I've only just started with a studio practice devoted to personal expression  about five years ago and hadn't really factored how the work would be perceived .
 What I would hope for is for the work to be viewed as sincere, for that is what it is . I've seen a lot of work seemingly ripe with irony;  irony has never been my intention even when I handle familiar archetypes unconventionally. All of my work comes from a true place , sometimes wry place but always sincere.
 q) What do your internal dialogues sound like?

a) I fear like that of a madman. 

q) Do you feel that there are limitations to what you want to create?
a) Right now physical space , I'm reaching a limit to how large I can work as my studio becomes increasingly crowded . I started the search for a new space just this afternoon, so hopefully that will be resolved promptly. A more difficult hindrance is psychological, I'm frequently riddled with self doubt and self loathing , often that's an obstacle . The making silences the ugliness from within . That and having thoughtful folks such as yourself taking the time to look at the work .

q) Do you feel art is vital to survival and if so, why?

a) Without discovering the beauty of Greek vases ( from an old art book hidden in my childhood attic ) my life would not have been worth living . I've carried the torch for art and beauty all of my life ( and I still love Greek vase paintings- who doesn't ?).

q) Describe a world without art.

a) I fear the callousness of our current political climate ( here in the States at least ) gives one a sense of the bleakness of a world without art . Art is made from a place of empathy , an attempt to capture the ineffable. For those driven by a lust for power and capital , it has little legitimacy or interest .

q) Tell us a secret, and obsession.

a) I'm not sure I have a secret  , I'm pretty candid . As per obsessions I have many but at this stage of my life it's trying to make art .

 q) Where can people see more of your work on the internet?
q) Where can people see more of your work on the internet?

a) My online portfolio is , I also keep a studio journal at,  Instagram and Twitter at leonardgrecoart ; and there is Facebook of course .