They applied. They were awesome. They became Redbubble Artists-in-Residence.
Artist Leo Flander hails from the culturally diverse city of Melbourne. Leo wasn’t the traditional “art kid” but always had a passion and interest in fantasy art. As he grew up, he began focusing on filmmaking and photography. After age 18, he packed his bags and relocated to LA. But after a few years, Leo realized his creative passions weren’t being fulfilled. Packing his bags once again, he moved back to Melbourne where he was able to get back in touch with his early passions, received a degree, and discovered oil painting.
Read on to find out about the latest Artist in Residence – Leo Flander
Leo’s two most prominent art practices are creating classical oil portraits and filmmaking. He traces those interests back to his early childhood where he played Batman at the age of 5. In his journey to continue to nurture his creativity, he immersed himself in amazing fantasy art and by exploring the walls of the National Gallery of Victoria.
“Find something where spending hours doing it IS the joy, work towards finishing lots of it and find a job that takes the pressure off.”
Describe your work in 7 words or less.
Portraits of champions to create social change.
Tell us about the project you will be working on while in the RB residency program?
The project is to create 2 series of portraits each focusing on an area of social change, picked by RB staff. Each series will be a single group of people working to create the change they want to see in the world. To help tell the story I’ll be creating a 30 minute documentary about each one as well as an interactive web experience to share the work online.
Favourite Painter of all time?
Fav painter is Elizabeth Vigee Le Brun She was a court painter in France during the 18th century. As one of the only women painting in the court at the time she had to be much better than her male counterparts. Basically all her work is amazing humble brags. So subtle, so skilled, I’ve learnt a lot.
“Along with creating the actual portraits, I create documentaries to help share the stories these people and what we create together.”
What role does art history play in your creative process?
History in general plays a huge part in life. Our history has shaped what the world is today and so by better understanding our history we can make stronger and more thoughtful choices today. Specifically within my creative process, the sort of painting I do is a very traditional style. So in order to learn to do it better it’s important to learn the history. I start each portrait by finding some great oil portraits and seeing how the greats tackled the same problems of form and composition I am working on. This helps keep my portraits feeling classical which is the style I am striving for.
Advice for aspiring artists?
- If you can work part time, do it! Taking the financial pressure off your art is 100% the best artistic and long term financial decision you can make. (In my opinion).
- Learn to love the process. There’s a big difference between wanting to paint a dragon, and wanting to have finished painting a dragon. If you don’t like the practical work you have to do in order to create the work you want, long term you’ll have a hard time doing it plus they’ll always be someone better who loves it more.
- Practice finishing work. That means starting something, getting all the way through and finishing it whether that means getting it on Redbubble, published, or sold. Its strange but I’ve found finishing something to be a skill you can practice.
- These things take time. So try and take the long view, art is a joy you can have for your whole life. I want to be a good painter, I’ve given myself 60 years to do it. That seems about right. And learning to have a creative practice that works for you is also a process that will take time. A little bit each week. Little increments towards something great that will work for you.