Art Talk: Brian Leahy

Art Talk: Brian Leahy

CultureMay 17, 2014

Local hero Brian Leahy is a half-artist half-musician hybrid that makes insanely cool paintings on wood. He gave us the inside scoop on his process, why he chooses wood as a creative substrate, and what he really thinks about the important and derisive topic of sushi.

The Vitals

Eye color: Hazel

Height: 6 feet

Shoe size: 10.5

Favorite color: Blue and green

Nickname: Brin

Can’t live without: Pizza

Plans for the summer? Backpacking trips! NH’s White Mountains and Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Make as much art as possible.

Best pick-up line for a girl? Ummm … uhhhh … “Hey you’re pretty! Wait where are you going?! Come back!”

Most dangerous thing you’ve attempted? Trying to reach the bottom of the pool.

Worst job you’ve ever had? Working at a liquor store.

Biggest threat facing mankind right now? Amazon delivery drones seem like three steps removed from Terminator actually happening.

Cat or dog? Dog for sure. Cats love to troll.

1. How would you describe your art in a haiku?

I step out the door

Into the morning sunlight

The glare makes me sneeze

2. Have you ever heard someone describe your art in such a way that really pissed you off?

Not yet. People do find things in your art that make you think “Where are you even getting that?” but that part’s kind of cool. Really, that one picture can mean very different things to two different people. I like hearing why.

3. You paint on wood. Where does one find wood on which to paint?

This recent batch of paintings came from Home Depot. There’s this one kind of cheap plywood there that feels like maybe you shouldn’t build anything with it, but it’s full of interesting grain patterns and knots, and lightweight.

4. You’ve teamed up with Hapa Sushi to display your artwork. Do you like sushi or is it all business?

Both. Been working hard at making art my career, and Hapa has some great-looking spaces and a cool rotation of local art. Plus sake bombs. I dig their support of local work. The person behind Hapa’s art program runs a great website about Denver art called 1 of 1 Magazine. Check it out.

5. Do you have any other talents?

I play guitar in the band W Summon.

6. Being an artist is tough work, what makes it all worth it?

I think it’s ideal. My schedule is my own, and there’s like 8 million things to see and do in the world, so I like the flexibility. You don’t necessarily make a ton of money, but I don’t mind that. Plus you can go on random trips, play music or drink a beer with your friends and claim it’s part of your artistic lifestyle. It’s true. We swear.

7. Ever wish you might have taken up a higher-paying profession, like publishing magazines?

That is my backup plan.

8. Can we both agree that taking photos on Instagram doesn’t make you an artist?

Depends on your choice of filter, bro.

9. Where and when do you normally paint?

My studio’s in my apartment. Usually later in the afternoon or evening.

10. Do you have any strange habits/rituals that must happen before, during or after you paint?

Nope. A tasty bev, a legal smoke, some music … those are pretty normal right?

11. What do you hope to achieve with your artwork?

I’m taking it in several directions right now. I want to combine it more with music, do more album covers, show posters, stage backdrops, etc. Been doing paintings for my band’s shows — I want the two to enhance each other. I also would like to start using my art for environmental causes. Posters, awareness campaigns, fundraisers, etc. Feel free to contact me if you are someone wanting to collaborate on any of these things.

12. Do you have an end game?

This seems like a sinister question.

13. Any parting words for the endearing readers?

I believe in you all! GODSPEED.