Leslie Vigeant is a wide-eyed, beautiful woman with her own charismatic flare. She grew up in Massachusetts, where she studied classical art techniques, and now resides in Portland–a hub of creativity and modern innovation.
Leslie is modern. That was my first impression as she approached me in her temporary public studio on the first floor of Artspace in downtown Raleigh this past Fourth of July. My husband and I wondered through Artspace in hopes that we could snag a couple of words with Leslie about the upcoming art classes she will be instructing as well as her… well, her wild and creative hair and, yes, her selfies. In the studio, a few of Leslie’s works were pinned to the walls, unfinished and very much in progress. She walked up to us with a big smile on her face and reached out her hand to introduce herself.
Her personal style is casual big-city, artistic chic and her hair, despite being tied back, was a dark mass of untamable curls with one very purposeful streak of alternating color. Her self-portraits did not dissapoint. We were elated that Leslie was open to discussing her methods, inspiration, and her plans for her time at Artspace.
Leslie specializes in several different mediums, but is currently focusing in watercolor in the form of self-portraits for her live work in the Artspace studio. “I’ve been painting a lot of other women, ” she says, “and I have been thinking a lot about women and gender roles and traditional perceptions of women and the power of decoration. I’ve been using all these other women’s figures while I’ve been exploring some of these issues about myself and I just decided that I needed to “man-up” (she pardoned the term) and finally do a self portrait.”
During Leslie’s month in residence at Artspace, she will be teaching two courses: an adult class on pattern and watercolor, and a pre-college class in watercolor. But, these classes are so much more than just watercolor. She is fascinated by untraditional methods and will be incorporating digital mediums into each course as well. We discussed how some historically classic painters utilized the camera obscura and pictograph in the process of creating their work. Leslie noted that with the accessibility of technology today, our surroundings invite an artist to expand and explore their work through digital mediums. “It’s almost undeniable that [going digital] is going to be a part of your process.”
The adult class is called Patterning, Painting, and Digital Media and will be a three day course. Day One will be about technique and discussing artistic innovation. Leslie plans to discuss how watercolor has been traditionally perceived and encourage the class to consider the ways that an artist can break away from the stereotypical movements in watercolor to pursue new methods. Day Two, the students will work with still life and concepts with watercolor including repetitions of the still life. The artists will be required to cut into the work with scissors and the class will discuss analog patterns. Day Three will focus on digital techniques. On this last day the class will even go so far as to discuss how apps can be included in the method of a work. Yes, apps… like on your phone.
The precollege class is titled “#Watercolor” and will mainly focus on watercolor technique with discussions surrounding the way people perceive art through digital media such as Instagram and blogs. Leslie commented that “Most people are researching artists through their devices online. If you put something in a square format it no longer means ‘polaroid,’ but now kids think ‘Instagram.'” The class will close with a discussion about how art may be utilized outside of a museum setting.
Tuition: $100 members/$125 non-members
Ages: 9th-12th grade
Tuition: $35 members/$45 non-members
Check out Leslie Vigeant’s additional works at www.leslievigeant.com.