Leah Pecoraro is a visual artist with a wide variety of talents and an interest in helping causes. She works in mixed media, painting, sculpture, body casting, costume design and make up. She resides in Portland, Oregon. Her website says she “continually explores her relationship with new avenues of self-expression, experimentation, personal growth and understanding.”
TTN: What inspires you, Leah?
LEAH: Oh man, everything! On certain days I think I am more sensitive to ‘hearing’ those muffled inspirations.
Seemingly mundane things really inspire me, little observations, body language, watching people interact with one another. Those normal interactions can be so complex. Music is also a huge inspiration, it’s my driving force. I absolutely require it in my studio. I am kind of a music addict, I can spend an entire day just searching for music that really inspires me. It’s like a sort of fuel.
TTN: What have you achieved that is valuable to you in your art and work?
LEAH: It’s hard to sum that up. If I look at all the work I have done throughout the years, it represents stages of my life and an evolution of my mental and emotional maturity. For instance, in the beginning I thought I was a painter, and then my art completely morphed into a busy mixed media aesthetic. A big turning point for me was a wearable art show I did a couple of years ago. I had always been interested in fashion and design but hadn’t really perused it. When I finally did it opened a whole new world of possibilities, and people really responded well to it. It’s sparked my interest in theater, short films, and fashion/costuming. All of these things are new mediums for me and they’re all very exciting!
TTN: What would you like to accomplish with your art?
LEAH: A few things really. I think that art can be a selfish endeavor, like when I have a concept growing in my mind I’m much more introverted I tend to isolate myself from humanity, it all tends to revolve around me. But ultimately, once those ideas and energy is out, you can use art as a tool to inspire and to raise awareness. I am personally interested in perusing more charitable functions, I would really like to raise awareness for more environmental foundations.
I need to continue on this crazy path I’ve been on. I’ve been obsessed with experimenting with different mediums and awakening new interests constantly. I don’t want to over think what I’m going to end up doing in the future, I feel like that would be limiting . When I get a crazy idea in my head I have to follow it. Who knows what I’ll be doing long-term, the possibilities are endless really! It’s quite exciting!
TTN: How do you view talent, in any art form?
LEAH: I believe art is subjective, so it’s difficult to ‘gauge’ talent. Everybody has their own tastes, I might love a particular band but when you hear it and you may think it’s terrible. It’s important to keep in mind that everyone connects with different things in different ways. I do believe that when people are making their work from a sincere place and really put themselves into it, it tends to radiate, you can feel or hear it (‘heart art’ as my dear friend calls it.) You’ve got to be honest in your work and brave. Constantly refining your craft is important as well, it’s a process of personal growth. It changes as you change.
TTN: What interests you?
LEAH: I’m very interested in sustainability, environmental action, and how to tie it into my art as well as my daily life. I think my interest in nature started when I was a child, I was utterly fascinated by natural history. My father has an intense passion for biology, so I was raised with a background in the sciences. There are a lot of organic undertones that have been carried into my work because of that. I like creating beauty and inspiring people, a truly inspired person can be capable of a lot!
TTN: How did you become an artist?
LEAH: My mom really nurtured my interests as a child. I have very fond early memories of going to the Carnegie Art Museum with her. We took an art class together there, I can still remember what that museum smells like!
I’ve never really been overly interested in art school, though I can see the benefit of it, it just wasn’t what I wanted. I like the idea of apprenticeships instead, I’ve learned so much this way, I have a lot of wonderful people to thank for my success and knowledge.
I guess through all the struggles of being an artist I could be considered somewhat successful, I have the privilege of sculpting for a living. I sculpt anatomical models which ends up funding the ‘heart art’, so at least I get to incorporate art into my more ‘commercial career’. Who knows where I’ll end up or what I’ll end up doing though, I have soooo many big concepts to unleash and things I want to pursue! I NEVER want to limit myself!
TTN: What are you currently working on?
LEAH: I’ve met some great people here in Portland already (I’ve been here three months), and already the collaborations are happening. Currently I’m working with a band named Princess Ugly, on a stop motion music video, I’ll also be doing costuming for it. Just recently I signed onto work with a fantastic production company named The CastIron Carousel, they make beautiful marionette puppet productions. I’m very excited to learn a completely new craft! There are also a few other ventures I’m currently perusing as well. I like to stay busy and inspired! Luckily for me Portland really knows how to treat a gal like me.
I’m also looking forward to utilizing the west coast. Places like Seattle, San Francisco, and L.A. are so attainable now. I’ll definitely be spreading my wings out here!
TTN: What advice do you have for other aspiring visual artists?
LEAH: I suppose the best advice I could offer is to just stick with it! Growing up, I had a lot of people telling me that art was useless and that I had better get my head screwed on straight and pursue a more conventional career. A lot of people viewed it as a childish hobby I would eventually outgrow. For some years I listened to them and I was utterly miserable. I soon realized that art is valuable and precious, that you can accomplish great things with it, that it is an important and powerful tool of communication. Nothing evokes emotion as eloquently as art can! You can’t listen to anyone else except yourself about your work and what ignites your personal fire, you must pursue it at all costs!
Check out Princess Ugly’s SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/princessugly
Check out Castiron Carousel: http://www.castironcarousel.org/
Contact Leah at: email@example.com