exclusive interview with Contemporary artist, Leigh Mulley
Leigh Mulley’s art is colourful, vibrant, and exciting; it’s big and bold and it simply cannot be missed. So what is it that makes this Kent-based artist tick? What inspired her love of art and nurtured her talent for creating stunning pieces? insideKENT’s feature writer, Lisamarie Lamb, finds out.
What inspired your unique form of art?
I developed a passion for art at a very young age – at primary school – inspired by a wonderful teacher. I won a weekly art competition, and the sense of achievement fuelled my interest. My parents are also very creative and encouraging. Eventually, like many realist painters, I became interested in Renaissance art, Dutch Realism, Victorian Art, and American Photorealism, through to today’s contemporary practitioners. It’s not all about painters though; some of my favourite works are by conceptual and abstract artists too. My
work developed into a reasonably detailed style as my painting career progressed – I definitely like to describe complex, intricate, crisp features.
What is the most interesting commission you’ve ever received?
I’m not sure that it counts as a commission as such, but getting to leave the studio and paint a 13m x 9m mural is unquestionably the most interesting project I’ve done in a while.
What is your favourite piece so far?
I don’t really have favourites; I can only really view my work with a critical eye – it’s just too hard to be objective with your own stuff. I’ve just been working on a piece that depicts a classic amusement arcade 2p pusher; it’s something I’ve wanted to paint for a long time, so it feels good to get that going.
Is there any kind of material you don’t like working with?
I don’t think so – the nicest thing is finding time to play and experiment with things. I’m pretty fanatical about making sure my materials are cruelty free and low in environmental impact, so I swerve anything damaging in that respect.
Your work ethic is founded on the big, bold, and beautiful. When did this become important, and was there a specific event that brought it home to you?
Well my work is themed around coastal resorts, featuring things like amusement arcades, funfairs and souvenir shops, and their associations with social class and culture. The scenery in these locations is usually dense in vibrant colour, lights, sounds, smells – it’s a real assault on the senses, and heightens your excitement. These things are arresting when they hit you – and I always aim to capture that in the work. I think these things appealed to me as a child visiting places like Margate, Ramsgate, Whitstable, Herne bay. I find the power of colour a particularly interesting subject.
How has your work changed over time?
I think my work has gained meaning. When I first started painting I worked on subjects that I simply Iiked, but over time I’ve learned to tie in the issues and factors that are part of who I am. This makes me feel true to myself, that my work comes from the heart, and that ultimately it will affect the overall outcome of what I produce.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to visit more of the UK’s coastal resorts and document them – there are still so many things I’d like to capture and depict. I’m keen to organise some form of exhibition to raise funds for the charity I volunteer for – they do incredible work for Kent’s stunning wildlife – and inspired the mural I completed last year (Fur and Feather Wildlife Trust).
Where can we see your work?
I’ll be showing later this summer, for which details will be on my website and newsletter. The mural is obviously available to see anytime in Folkestone.
How can our readers get in touch with you?