Today we’d like to introduce you to Amara Leipzig.
Amara, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
When I was a kid, I always kept to myself and liked to make stuff. I used to record episodes of Dragon Ball Z and then trace the stills, taping the paper straight to the TV. I would sometimes get myself in trouble, whittling knives in elementary school, drawing on walls and furniture at home, and painting our tub with nail polish. When I was older, I left LA and had the privilege of attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I went when I saw the size of the weaving department but ended up spending the next four years making woodblock prints and comics. I’ve been self-publishing, tabling at fests, and teaching ever since.
My fiancée and I moved back a couple of years ago. I remember the night before we left Chicago. We drove around the quiet city, leaving our beloved paintings and carved wood blocks on street corners and in parks. We couldn’t fit everything in our car, and we hoped they would be found and treasured by strangers. The next morning we began our two week long trek to LA. Since my return, there have been some true ups and downs. My view of LA has expanded and with that comes a whole new appreciation of this place I despised so much as a kid! I’m happy to be exploring this city as an older human.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I love making comics and books because I love the intimacy that comes with holding an object in your hand, that space between the open page and a reader’s eyes, the experience for one viewer and that viewer alone. These days, I’m not making comics or tabling so much. My neighbor started teaching me carpentry, and I apprenticed with Conrad Freiburg, building custom furniture and assisting his art practice. I’ve started renting an art studio in Sunland, too. It’s a funny converted office space in a little strip mall, surrounded by the majesty of the Angeles National Forest. There, I’ve been building looms and weaving rugs. This summer, I’m hoping to combine the carpentry I’ve been learning with my return to weaving and make some cool stuff! As far as comics go, the narrative is always there. These days, it’s in the history of the reclaimed lumber and yarn I’ve been using.
I think that craftsmanship is worth devoting your life too, and that mastery is important. Sometimes, all I want to do is learn new techniques and new practices. Other times, I think I need to be making important, relevant, conceptual work. I want to do away with the idea that craft is not art. I think that art needs to be functional, whether that’s because it’s a chair that you love to use or a mural that makes that wall on Sunset Blvd way nicer to drive by everyday or a performance or piece in a gallery that makes you feel something big or want to do something to change things.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
There’s no way around it – it’s hard to be an artist. Capitalist societies are just not set up to nurture or foster us, and they do not reward us. It’s only become harder as housing becomes scarcer and more expensive. Creating easier access to housing, fostering arts education for young people, ensuring artists are paid what their work is worth, and getting rid of self-employment taxes are some ways local and national government can better support artists.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
You can support me by buying my work and hiring me! You can also follow me on Instagram and check out my websites.
www.amaraleipzig.com has my comics and illustration work and shows you where you can purchase my comics.
www.forgottenhandstudio.com is a new project of mine where I will be posting about the functional art/craft I am making, mostly textiles and furniture.
- Website: www.forgottenhandstudio.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/amaraleipzig
- Other: www.amaraleipzig.com
Carly Shumaker, Amara Leipzig