Interview: Lang Leav

Die Kunst von Lang Leav: wunderbare, handgemachte Bücher, Gemälde, Figuren und Objekte, die wirken, wie aus einer anderen Welt – einem düsteren Märchenland, dessen Schönheit im Dunkeln liegt.

Im Rahmen der Diskursdisko-Interviews befragte ich sie zu ihren Einflüssen, ihrem Background und ihren Arbeiten.

The Past

I learnt from an early age that I could escape the monotony by creating my own fantasy worlds through drawing and writing.

storybookDiskursdisko: Hi Lang. To start things off, what’s your background? When did you start doing illustrations/artwork?

Lang Leav: The earliest memories I have of drawing are in my dad’s surgery, where I’d spend most of my time. I would draw little girls and write the letter ‘P’on their chests. ‘P’ stood for Princess. I had a very strict upbringing where my parents aimed to shut out as much outside influence as possible. My reading material was restricted to Encyclopedias and I was rarely allowed to watch TV. So I learnt from an early age that I could escape the monotony by creating my own fantasy worlds through drawing and writing.

The Art

I realised then that in their purest form, fairy tales are dark. This irony really influences my work.

liliput Diskursdisko: How do you produce your art?

Lang Leav: I like to stay away from the computer as much as possible but it is a very useful tool. I use it mainly to quickly to sketch a rough outline of how I want my artworks to sit. I also do colour studies using photoshop. I tend to use more traditional methods. I love producing work that looks like it has been touched by human hands. In particular, I am fond of pastel pencils and charcoal. I have experimented with many different mediums over the years but these are my favourite.

Diskursdisko: What inspires you?

Lang Leav: I am very influenced by the lavish, over-excessiveness of the Victorian era and Japanese pop culture. I’m also heavily influenced by the sweet yet sinister imagery created by artists such as Mark Ryden, Ray Caesar and Marion Peck.

Diskursdisko: Your artwork has an appealingly dark, though still romantic look, like fairy tales from another world where things have gone seriously wrong. Where does this come from?

Lang Leav: My dad bought me a Fairytale book when I was about 9 years old.  It was huge thick book – a collection of the complete and unabridged stories of the Brothers Grimm. The stories were contrary to the happy Disneyesque ones I was accustomed to. They were violent and often ended with children meeting gruesome deaths. I think I realised then that in their purest form, fairy tales are dark. This irony really influences my work.

Diskursdisko: Your latest works – the Little Mermaid, Teddy Bear’s Picnic - Fairytale Storybook and the Quaint Little Rhymes book are hand-made, which, in this day and age, is very unusual. Can you tell us a bit about the creation of the books and the work involved?

Lang Leav: I love to tell stories and to get people listening to them. There is a lot of competition in the technology age, with so many different mediums to distract you. But there is something very beautiful and magical about using the traditional methods of writing and drawing to tell a story. To be able to have the story in my head, have it flow out on to pages that I can sculpt into a vessel to place in the hands of another person, gives me so much joy.

The Web

This book is my way of filling in the blanks, of bringing the fantasy of my other world into my reality.

postcardpacksDiskursdisko: You’ve obviously got your website, any other presences on the web you’d like to publicize? Social networking?

Lang Leav: I have created a little fraternity called The Secret Society of Button Fetishes for all the behind the scenes action. I am also on Twitter.

Diskursdisko: As you use the internet to showcase your art, are there any other websites you feel have influenced you, opened your mind or shown you new ways of creating art?

Lang Leav: I prefer books for inspiration and spend a lot of time in bookstores. I have a library of books I really cherish. However I do subscribe to a few really cool websites such as Lost @ E Minor, Juxtapoz and Beautiful Decay.

Diskursdisko: Of all the work you’ve created, or at least the ones showcased on your website, can you name a couple that you have a special love for or connection to?

Lang Leav: Everything I create is very personal and special to me. My favourite thing is the Mermaid book I have just created as it my most personal work to date. On an ordinary page in my diary I had written, ‘Today I fell in love and the rest of the world will cease to exist’. For months afterwards, the following pages were completely blank. It was like I disappeared into a parallel world for those months. Now I have returned and this book is my way of filling in the blanks, of bringing the fantasy of my other world into my reality. It’s just something I had to do, to put an end to that chapter of my life and move on to new adventures.

The Future

Several exciting collaborations with some of the most amazing artists across the world are underway.

rhymesDiskursdisko: What are your plans for the future?

Lang Leav: I will be exhibiting in Paris, the UK, Tokyo and the States. I met with the editors of Pie books in Japan (who are the largest publishers of design and art books in the country) and they are very interested in working with me on a project in the future. Several exciting collaborations with some of the most amazing artists across the world are underway. I am also 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:  That is all, thank you! : )


Vincent Wilkie hat diesen tollen Beitrag verfasst. In seiner Freizeit ist er Musiker, Webdesigner und DJ.

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