Leslie Weaver creates gorgeous fashion-inspired illustrations that are filled with passion and detail. Honestly, her paintings take me back to why I adore fashion in the first place. Her images come to life, and one wonders about each woman in her unique manner. The details are delicious and intricate, and the illustrations fuse into characters. Interestingly, as LAFW is approaching, there are particular trending themes lately in Weaver's work: red lips, wispy bangs, or subtle pops of a green and brown evening dress together. Leslie even incorporates designer dresses into her breathtaking illustrations. The eclectic and transforming makeup and accessories always make a standout statement.
Art has been a part of Leslie Weaver's life since childhood. She can recall spending many hours in elementary school drawing faces and figures. It was not until she picked up a paintbrush in 2011, at the age of 32, that Leslie felt the magic of creating again and she has no plans of stopping. "I am deeply drawn to feminine beauty, and the female face and figure are my primary muse," expressed Leslie. Leslie's work is deeply inspired by fashion, nature, and random things that she finds beautiful and aspects of her inner world. Harnessing all of her inspiration to create a feminine character through color, pattern, and texture excite and motivate Leslie immensely. Leslie’s work has been featured in various online blogs, such as the popular Decor8, and she has collaborated with retail brands such as Anthropologie and Papyrus.
When she had a moment to chat, she talked with Gemma Magazine about her work, collaborations, and her creative process. Let's get into it.
Why did you stop painting after having so much love for art in your childhood?
I’m not sure exactly why I stopped painting. I think it was a variety of factors. My educational setting did not have an art program. My private art teacher moved away just when I really started honing my skills. As I grew older, interest in boys took center stage. I honestly forgot about art in my adolescence until I went to college. I took an art class in college but was torn apart by my professor. After that experience, I really didn’t think I had much artistic ability. I decided to hang out with other people who were artists and musicians to get my artistic “fix”. I never considered myself one at the time.
Was there a defining moment where you decided to pursue art full time?
Yes, around my early thirties I found the confidence to start painting again. I saw online that a bunch of artists was making a career in art without being “perfect.” I realized then that there was a place for me if I found my niche and style. I would say this period of life was most defining but the full-time career didn’t come until around 4 years later.
Is it true that you are a self-taught mixed media artist?
Yes. No formal education except one art class in college.
Your work is beautiful. What are you inspired by?
My work is heavily inspired by the feminine spirit, my inner world, and things I find beautiful.
I paint even when I’m not motivated. The work may not be good and no one might see it, but I show up anyway. It’s like a compulsion. I can’t not paint.
Tell us about the collaboration between Papyrus and Anthropologie.
The company that owns Papyrus reached out to me in 2016. I created some art that they bought outright to use as they wished. In that process, a home decor product was made out of one of the paintings and was sold online for a bit. Anthropologie contacted me in 2017, I believe, to collaborate on a home decor project (plates, dish towels). That was fun and a big hit with my followers. The products from that were launched in 2018 and featured my older work of abstract faces.
Did you have a strong vision of the women you wanted to create?
The vision for my women characters is always changing, as I am always changing on a personal level. However, the desire to create something feminine is pretty consistent or at least has been for the past couple of years.
Would you say that the women have become like characters to you
Yes, I would say so. However, it feels more like me becoming that character and expressing that through paint. I'm channeling energy or persona and then creating the expression of that through painting. I have to feel it in my body and become the character to create the character.
What is up next for Leslie Weaver Art?
I’m not sure. I have lots of side project ideas running through my head on a continual basis, but I haven’t found the discipline to follow through with them just yet. I’m also a mom of young kids, so that absorbs a lot of my energy and brainpower.
To keep up with Leslie Weaver Art, you can follow her on social media.