Interview: Lang Leav
Die Kunst von Lang Leav: wunderbare, handgemachte BÃ¼cher, GemÃ¤lde, Figuren und Objekte, die wirken, wie aus einer anderen Welt – einem dÃ¼steren MÃ¤rchenland, dessen SchÃ¶nheit im Dunkeln liegt.
Im Rahmen der Diskursdisko-Interviews befragte ich sie zu ihren EinflÃ¼ssen, ihrem Background und ihren Arbeiten.
I learnt from an early age that I could escape the monotonyÂ by creating my own fantasy worlds through drawing and writing.
Diskursdisko:Â Hi Lang. To start things off, what’s your background?Â When did you start doing illustrations/artwork?
Lang Leav: The earliest memories I have of drawing are in my dadâ€™s surgery, where Iâ€™dÂ spend most of my time. I would draw little girls and write the letter â€˜Pâ€™on their chests. â€˜Pâ€™ stood for Princess. I had a very strict upbringingÂ where my parents aimed to shut out as much outside influence as possible.Â My reading material was restricted to Encyclopedias and I was rarely allowedÂ to watch TV. So I learnt from an early age that I could escape the monotonyÂ by creating my own fantasy worlds through drawing and writing.
I realised then that in their purest form,Â fairy tales are dark. This irony really influences my work.
Diskursdisko: How do you produce your art?
Lang Leav:Â I like to stay away from the computer as much as possible but it is a veryÂ useful tool. I use it mainly to quickly to sketch a rough outline of how IÂ want my artworks to sit. I also do colour studies using photoshop. I tendÂ to use more traditional methods. I love producing work that looks like itÂ has been touched by human hands. In particular, I am fond of pastelÂ pencils and charcoal. I have experimented with many different mediums overÂ the years but these are my favourite.
Diskursdisko: What inspires you?
Lang Leav:Â I am very influenced by the lavish, over-excessiveness of the Victorian eraÂ and Japanese pop culture. Iâ€™m also heavily influenced by the sweet yetÂ sinister imagery created by artists such as Mark Ryden, Ray Caesar andÂ Marion Peck.
Diskursdisko: Your artwork has an appealingly dark, though still romantic look,Â like fairy tales from another world where things have gone seriouslyÂ wrong. Where does this come from?
Lang Leav:Â My dad bought me a Fairytale book when I was about 9 years old. Â It was hugeÂ thick book â€“ a collection of the complete and unabridged stories of theÂ Brothers Grimm. The stories were contrary to the happy Disneyesque ones I wasÂ accustomed to. They were violent and often ended with children meetingÂ gruesome deaths. I think I realised then that in their purest form,Â fairy tales are dark. This irony really influences my work.
Diskursdisko: Your latest works – the Little Mermaid, Teddy Bear’s Picnic -Â Fairytale Storybook and the Quaint Little Rhymes book are hand-made, which, in this day and age, is very unusual. Can you tell us aÂ bit about the creation of the books and the work involved?
Lang Leav:Â I love to tell stories and to get people listening to them. There is a lotÂ of competition in the technology age, with so many different mediums toÂ distract you. But there is something very beautiful and magical about usingÂ the traditional methods of writing and drawing to tell a story. To be ableÂ to have the story in my head, have it flow out on to pages that I can sculptÂ into a vessel to place in the hands of another person, gives me so much joy.
This book is my way ofÂ filling in the blanks, of bringing the fantasy of my other world into myÂ reality.
Diskursdisko: You’ve obviously got your website, any otherÂ presences on the web you’d like to publicize? Social networking?
Diskursdisko: As you use the internet to showcase your art, are there any otherÂ websites you feel have influenced you, opened your mind or shown youÂ new ways of creating art?
Lang Leav:Â I prefer books for inspiration and spend a lot of time in bookstores. IÂ have a library of books I really cherish. However I do subscribe to a fewÂ really cool websites such as Lost @ E Minor, Juxtapoz and Beautiful Decay.
Diskursdisko: Of all the work youâ€™ve created, or at least the ones showcased onÂ your website, can you name a couple that you have a special love for orÂ connection to?
Lang Leav:Â Everything I create is very personal and special to me. My favourite thingÂ is the Mermaid book I have just created as it my most personal work to date.Â On an ordinary page in my diary I had written, â€˜Today I fell in love and theÂ rest of the world will cease to existâ€™. For months afterwards, the followingÂ pages were completely blank. It was like I disappeared into a parallelÂ world for those months. Now I have returned and this book is my way ofÂ filling in the blanks, of bringing the fantasy of my other world into myÂ reality. Itâ€™s just something I had to do, to put an end to that chapter ofÂ my life and move on to new adventures.
Several exciting collaborations withÂ some of the most amazing artists across the world are underway.
Diskursdisko: What are your plans for the future?
Lang Leav:Â I will be exhibiting in Paris, the UK, Tokyo and the States. I metÂ with the editors of Pie books in Japan (who are the largest publishers ofÂ design and art books in the country) and they are very interested in workingÂ with me on a project in the future. Several exciting collaborations withÂ some of the most amazing artists across the world are underway. I am alsoÂ working on my fourth limited edition book which I am so excited about.
Diskursdisko: Lang, many thanks for the interview – is there anything you’d like to add?
Lang Leav: Â That is all, thank you! : )
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