ARTS & CULTURE
01/24/2012 08:40 am ET

HuffPost Arts Interviews Leigh Salgado

Leigh Salgado creates feminine nets of patchwork, cultural references, personal narrative and mythical abstraction. Salgado uses an Exacto knife to make her doily-like works, epitomizing the constant balance between feminine softness and tough guy rigor in her works. We asked her some questions about her process, inspirations and America's favorite pastime.

HuffPost Arts: From viewing your YouTube interview, I saw that you were interested in baseball. However, your art work is arguably very feminine. How does this dynamic play out in your life and work?

Leigh Salgado: Art making is a solitary activity for me since I rarely collaborate on projects. I do like to attend baseball games and participate in the community aspect of being a fan. Even though there are collectives and duos in the art world, artistic practice more often does not involve a team. Baseball celebrates the excellence of both the individual and the team. I like that a player, such as the batter, has to stand before a huge audience and perform. If he gets a hit one out of three times, he is a superstar. I take inspiration from the fact that a great player fails far more often than he succeeds. That is what being in the studio is like, minus 50,000 people watching your every move.

HuffPost Arts: Describe a particular moment in time when you were inspired to create a specific body of work.

Leigh Salgado: I lost someone close to me of a physical illness. This brought the fragility of the body more into my everyday consciousness, although, this is something I already constantly ruminated about. I made twin pieces dealing with this specific event and our fleeting physical existence continues to permeate my work.

Tetralogy of Fallout

HuffPost Arts: Show a picture of a work of art and describe that work and the inspiration behind it.

Which Witch

Leigh Salgado: My childhood memories of what informed my views of the feminine and being a woman in our culture often comes into play in my work. I loved watching television as a youngster and one of my favorite movies was The Wizard Of Oz. In this piece, "Which Witch," I am questioning which of the female characters is actually the one to aspire to [be]. I am not literally illustrating what Dorothy or the witches looked like, but I am combining clothing elements and snippets of images that I loosely associate with my impressions of the movie.


HuffPost Arts: Is there anything about your process or way of working that you think is unusual or unique?

Leigh Salgado: I am not the only artist who engages in a labor-intensive activity, but this seems to stand out when people see the work in person. There are other artists who also cut paper, but the imagery and patterns in my work seem to be unique. It's also not common to combine wood-burning with cutting and painting.

HuffPost Arts: Is there a particular work of art that inspired you to become an artist or to practice art?

Leigh Salgado: A work of art that had a profound effect on my art practice is "The Rose" by Jay De Feo. When I saw it for the first time at the De Young Museum in San Francisco in the 1990s, I didn't know what it was or who made it. It was at the far wall in a room I entered and I was immediately drawn to it. The information I gathered following this experience only made me love it all the more. It confirmed for me that art making could be obsessive, take a long time and that it was something an artist had to do in spite of doubts and obstacles.

Readers: what do you think of Salgado's work? Let us know in the comments section below.

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