Q: How did you start creating artwork with leaves?
A: I hadn’t ever seen anything like it being done. After a walk along the river collecting autumn leaves that caught my eye, events unfolded where instead of following my intention at the time of drawing a mandala with ‘normal’ art materials, I created one with leaves instead. One thing led to another and before I knew it, many more mandalas, a dancing figure, faces, an elephant, giraffe, and on from there.
Q: Where do you get your leaves?
A: Most are found and collected locally from urban park areas, pathways and boulevards. On occasion I receive leaves from people who‘ve travelled or found extra-special specimens.
Q: Are you concerned about how long leaves might last or not?
A: Yes and no. Leaves are renewable (yearly) by nature, play a part in and are supported by cycles in the natural world. Many things these days are made to outlast their usefulness relative to their purpose. Some materials take hundreds of years to decompose, may be toxic and of little value again and put stress on landfills. Once a piece is complete, I capture it digitally by scanning and work to complete the second ‘original’. Not everyone wants to spend a higher amount for the leaf piece and find my reproductions more affordable.
Q: Will the leaves change over time?
A: For colour, some will, or to varying degrees depending on the piece. I don’t use artificial colour. Sometimes the natural leaves are treated with a clearcoat, or I may use specific types or colours that are intentionally chosen to minimize any change to the essence of the design, but will tonally hold. You might expect the leaves would crumble, but the adhering process acts as a preservative and holds them in place. When I create a piece for reproduction only and not intended for sale, I might use, for example, more colors to define the subject matter instead of doing that tonally with dark/light. I make sure people buying the actual leaf pieces understand and are comfortable with any potential change in colour intensity that can occur. If not, I suggest buying a reproduction as more suitable. The reproductions are sometimes mistaken for actual leaves, probably due to the high deifnition scanning method to capture the design. It's not my intention to trick anyone but I do get a bit of a kick out of the reproductions looking at realistic and take it mostly as a compliment to the quality of the digital work.