Art Connection –– Summer 2022

from the artist studio: A CONVERSATION WITH LEAH REI

From the street view of this iconic mid- century modern Ralph Haver home in midtown Phoenix, you’d have no idea that just beyond the driveway sits a capacious art studio that’s responsible for works that don the walls of collectors around the world. Just like the art that originates here, the space is peaceful, bright and airy, and it’s become a place of respite for the artist who works here. Incidentally, it’s also where a budding two-year-old artist is beginning to explore her creative side. This is the home and art studio of Leah Rei, a mixed media artist whose work expresses nature and all of its subtle, yet powerful intangible moments. The fact that her art studio mirrors the zen-like experience her art creates is no happy accident––she intentionally designed the space to be energizing and joyful. Testing in the "off-season" During the “off-season” when she’s not at the Celebration of Fine Art, this is where Leah spends most of her days––

up. You’ve got to stretch your muscles and try new things. Often you'll learn something new in that piece that doesn't fit, but you can bring it back to your zone––it’s kind of like your vocabulary grows.” A couple of new concepts Leah’s experimenting with this year include three-dimensional sculpture and a collaboration with fellow Celebration of Fine Art artist, Matt Sievers. "I'm going to create kind of an ethereal, airy, organic background and Matt is going to paint some majestic mountains on top," she said. "We're going to have this really big juxtaposition of his boldness and my quietness. So it should make for some really cool pieces." Last year, Leah also began working with metal and this year she has challenged herself to make the leap from two-dimensional to 3D. “It's already in the works, but not revealed yet,” she said. “I'm working on a free-standing sculpture out of the metal. As a 2D artist, I am going to start working in 3D, which is scary and so exciting.”

working on commissions, many of which came from the show, or on collaborative pieces for local hospitals. “Until October, I'm just doing custom commissions,” Leah said. “I know exactly what I'm painting for the next six months, which is calming for my mind. But it also kind of builds the anticipation of, “the faster I get these done, the faster I get to do new stuff.” And Leah is continually testing new concepts to stretch her artistic muscles, though she admits, it can be scary. “Often new ideas are most vulnerable,” she said. “It’s something I might have been thinking about for a while and wanting to share it is that whole next step. So I start small and then work my way

"It's not lost on me How fortunate I am––lucky, I guess––to do this. that I get to do this for my job. that's not a small thing."

Watch Leah's interview here.

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Issue 1 | Summer 2022

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