Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Interview with Leah Tinari

q) Well, first of all please tell us a little about yourself.

a)I am 31, I live in the East Village in NYC my studio is eight blocks away from my apartment. I grew up in the Bronx, New York as well as New Jersey. I went to the Rhode Island School of Design to study painting. After college I moved to NYC and have been here every since. I am 100% Italian American, I have two brothers and one sister. I love going to farmer's markets and I love to spend the evenings cooking with my husband Marty. I like to read and I like martinis. I am a painter and illustrator.

q) Had you always planned on being an artist [or had you other hopes]?

a)I always planned on being an artist for as long as I can remember.

q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?

a)I work in acrylic on canvas and I work in gouache on paper. I prefer acrylic because it is very immediate, it dries rapidly and allows me to work quickly and in layers. I can be very impatient when it comes to my paintings so it is fantastic when a section that I just finished painting can be dry in minutes. I also like to work in gouache because it is somewhere between watercolor and acrylic, it is more forgiving than acrylic. Meaning you can rework a color with some water unlike acrylic once it is dry that is it. Gouache also looks very velvety to me.

q) How would you describe your style?

a)My personal style or my painting style? Well... maybe I can sum up both in one answer... contemporary, bold, celebratory, witty, sometimes debaucherious and very much influenced by my surroundings.
q) Do you go through any certain processes while trying to produce your work?

a) I work from photographs that I take. At the starting point, composition, narrative and expression are the basis for creating my drawings. Once I make a drawing I will then go into the full scale painting. I know excatly what every painting will look like at the end even before I start it . I do not leave room for chance or happy accidents. I have a clear vision and the painting doesn't evolve during the process.

q) What are you working on at present?

a)I just finished a series of square paintings for a show and they were based on photos taken from a masquerade ball I attended with a group of friends in NYC. They are being shown at Gallery Nulu through May. Right now I am working on a few commisions but I am also working on some drawing for my first short animation that will be featured in a movie directed by Rebecca Miller.

q) What about recent sources of inspirations?

a)My sources of inspirations are definitely my friends and family. I consider it my social realism, my day to day and night to night shananagins. Though my work will also be informed by other abstract elements. One of my last bodies of work was really inspired by water, splattering and dripping and bubbles and being submerged in water.

q) What are some of your obsessions?

a)Oh No! where to begin? Listening to soap operas while I paint, painting, pork, ikura... actually anything Japanese, good gossip, saddling up to a great bar, Mara Hoffman, Christian LouBoutin shoes, horror films, fishing, the ocean, taxidermy, Costa rica ... I could go on forever.

q) Which galleries have you shown at and which galleries would you like to show at?

a)I show with Mixed Greens Gallery here in NYC, Gallery Nulu in Louisville Kentucky, Peter Miller in Chicago and Real Art Ways in Conneticut. My hope is to expand to the European market. I would love to show in Italy as well as Germany. I am currently trying to find a gallery in Japan.

q) If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?

a)I can be reached thru my gallery (212)-331-8888 or you can email me at or

q) Do you have any suggestions or advice for artists that are just starting out?

a)Dedication and inspiration. Work really hard and constanly look for inspiration.

q) Who are your favorite artists?

a)I have always loved Alice Neel, Ben Shawn, David Hockney, Ralph Staedman, Mike Kelly, Egon Schiele, Sigmar Polke, Neo Rauch, Henry Darger

q) What books are on your nightstand?

a) Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, The Pillars of the Earth. This Way North, Atonement .

q) To what weaknesses are you most indulgent?

a)Libations, good times and travel.

q)..your contacts.



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