“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Zora Neale Hurston spoke volumes with this line. We often forget the part time plays in helping to solidify ideas, and allowing them to evolve. Skill and progress take time, I think we all can attest to that. For Leo Phoenix it is no exception. Lucy’s Dream was an idea that first came to Leo some 20 years ago and grew over time. It’s evolved from that seed or thought into what is now a diverse body of work. Some of that work make up the book “Lucy’s Dream and the Sun Blockers.” Described as a dream about every creative inspiration within us. An inspirational children’s story about Billy the Bus and his adventure through dreamland. Leo creates a beautiful dreamscape with both imagery and story, but I will leave details about the story for him to tell. Though I think the art work is equally important part of the story as well.
Sitting down in his studio surrounded by his inspirations and his work. We spoke for a few hours about everything. From Dali to Seuss, and how they inspired him to create. As a matter of fact you might appreciate his unique way of paying homage to them in his work. Simplistic but detailed… It’s no wonder he has a background in graphic design. No stranger to computers, Leo chose to create his art in a more organic medium. Paper. Armed with an exactor knife and Canson-Infinity colored paper the dreamland is sculpted by hand, layer by layer. From a distance his work is impressive, but upon closer inspection the texture and detail comes out. The layers make you really appreciate the work and time put into his craft. The use of color makes you appreciate his history in graphic design and eye for detail. If wine gets better with age I’m glad this idea was given time to ferment and become this dreamscape.
Part of what makes what I do cool is to appreciate great work that may not have been seen yet. The other part is meeting creative, driven, and grounded creatives who express honestly. Leo is all 3. What drew me in when I first saw his work was the emotion that I felt seeing it. From the ground work for Lucy’s Dream to the abstract work he creates from the clippings of his more prominent pieces. Did I mention he also is working on a comic book series that I actually hope he releases over time. All made with care and a methodical technique that is unique to Mr. Phoenix, They all have that depth and texture that he has learned to use in a way only he can. Leo’s vision is something that I don’t think would have been the same 20 plus years ago. Which is why I referenced time. It’s important to understand the part it played in order to appreciate the man and his work. Leo Phoenix’s work and life are a testament to the fact that sometimes taking time, and ironing out the details is just as important as creating the art. Art could not exist if not for the birth of an idea or a vision. Leo’s vision is clear. He gives us a hint through his work. We get a peak into his mind when we enter Lucy’s Dream. A mind where this amazing universe exists. I’m sure many wonderful adventures lie ahead.