ARTIST INTERVIEW- Kira Leigh ∼ アーティスト・インタービュー（英語版）
ILLUSTREET: Hello Kira Leigh! Thanks for taking the time to virtually sit with me for this ILLUSTREET artist interview. I’ve been a fan of your work for a while, so I’m happy to get inside your head for a bit!
ILLUSTREET: Your work is direct and bold, yet intricate- colorful, yet dark- twisted, yet humorous- organic, yet cosmic. The varying styles of your work cover quite a range of emotions, but a common thematic element seems to be that of being disturbed; disturbed either by a combined expression of self-aggression/cynicism (sometimes in a sexual context), possibly from some sort of societal oppression of true character, or, a visually chaotic and superficially disturbed piece, of characters just being themselves, possibly showing more twisted aspects of a modern society and its inability to accept strays from the “norm”. And then there are more spiritual and cosmic expressions of character, which are like whoa. Your pieces seem to explore concepts of inwards-looking-outwards and judgment from the outside. Of course, these are my feelings on your works—What are some of your thoughts on this?
Kira: I create work that is paramount to internal struggle. Being a female, being a person with bipolar, having had anxiety, having had depression. All my female figures seem sad in a way, displaced from reality and put in sort of a cosmic limbo. I suspend them in these backdrops and with these symbols to touch on inner psychology. I hope, all in all, that my pieces can talk to people who suffer or those who can empathize with pain. It could be the pain of not fitting into traditional society, or it could be some deeper pain like simply being human.
ILLUSTREET: A lot of your work being seemingly psychology themed, do you feel your art is being used as a means to- intentionally- express unconscious aspects and learn more about yourself, or are you more expressing your views on the “outside world”? Both? Neither?!
Kira: I express both the internal world and the external world. Internal problems usually always stem from external sources. I aim to pull away the mask of the human world and portray the ugly internal squishy material that gives it all its bite.
ILLUSTREET: About the darkness in your work—Are your darker works intended to transmit such energy towards the viewer- are they intended to put viewers in such states for purpose of experience- or are they more statements about general emotions; using darkness as a means to give viewers contrasting feelings to reflect upon themselves and not the darkness directly? That question being kind of specific- haha- I would just like to know some of your thoughts/concepts with regard to working with depressive emotional themes.
Kira: My darker works are meant to offer a bite of what depression is. Most of my darker work features figures with a means to harm themselves, or already harmed by cuts and scratches, bedazzled with a million paranoid eyes, or disfigured. It's meant to portray what I am experiencing when I experience depression. I hope people can see this and find a bit of their melancholy selves in the work.
ILLUSTREET: In general, are your artworks intended as a sort of medicine for your viewers? For yourself?
Kira: It's cathartic. For me I get to squeeze out the juice of what it means to be troubled. For others I hope they drink that juice, get a swig of depression, and can equalize their feelings with my own. I'm looking for empathy from a population without empathy as a core value. I'm looking for kindred souls who can resonate with the work. I guess viewers get the byproduct of internal turmoil.
ILLUSTREET: I really dig your raw and expressive style. How long have you been focusing on your current vibe of works? Did you ever have such interest in more mundane forms of visual expression- those not dealing with the human state so directly and in such a deep manner- such as still lives and other classical forms?
Kira: I am trained as a classical oil painter in portraiture. Realism isn't my thing anymore. I've been building this body of work since my last year at massART, so for about 3 years now I've been working in this style.
ILLUSTREET: To add a taste of citrusy spritz in ice-cold sparkling water to this interview: what are some other hobbies or fun interests that you have, to help keep you fresh and enthusiastically ready to produce new works?
Kira: I love sci-fi and horror movies as well as games, so I spend most of my time- when I'm not creating artwork (which is usually daily)- sitting in front of the television soaking in discovery documentaries, zombie flicks and shows like Dexter.
ILLUSTREET: What does your cat Rolly think of your works?
Kira: My cat loves the work as per the intense amount of hair he tries to deposit on them. (ILLUSTREET: awwwww~~~)
ILLUSTREET: Any final words for your fans? Any super cool shit you’d like to tell us about anything, about your future art, about the world, about ICE CREAM?!?!?! (OMG, ice cream is so good. Please say something about ice cream.)
Kira: I'm addicted to mango smoothies, I'm on a salad diet, and I love Nine Inch Nails. (ILLUSTREET: Hoooly shit, mango smoothies... mmmmm.....)
ILLUSTREET: Thank you, Kira Leigh! It was a lovely chit chat with you, in these lovely $95,000 virtual chairs made of marshmallows and emeralds. Thank you so much. I’m looking forward to your future works! GLITTER POWER. Godspeed.