Website & Places you can find my work online
Websites: www.leiannklein.com & www.moderndaycowgirl.com
Etsy: Leiann Klein
Printroom: Leiann Klein
Ning: Leiann Klein
Imagekind: Leiann Klein
Where I am
I am currently residing in Frederick County Maryland, Monrovia to be exact.
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I am a Native New Yorker. I grew up in Brooklyn New York, and moved into the city at 17, and stayed there until 9/11. I was always waiting for the sign to let me know it was time to leave. I think that was definitely my sign to go.
When did you first realize art was your calling?
My parents always fostered my interest in the arts. I remember growing up my mother always taking me to Pratt University as a child to take Art Classes on Saturdays. I was the only child in the class, but I remember how I loved it. Then there was dance and music. But I always fell back into the creative making art process.
It’s funny because I went to an Art College, Fashion Institute of Technology and majored in Illustration. I did really well in school and went on to do window displays and some illustration work. Then went on to Graduate school, New York University where I excelled as well and went on to teach Art.
I think where I really connected with my own creativity was while I was an Art teacher in New York City. It was there in watching students try new things and experiment and not really care about the end result just the joy of the process that I got inspired.
You utilize a variety of techniques and mediums, which do you enjoy the most?
It’s really hard to say which medium is my “favorite.” They are all so different and have their own unique qualities and attributes to them so when I am painting, I am loving the process of painting, when I am printmaking I am all about that process, when I am behind the camera I am enjoying looking at life through that lens. I try to immerse my energy and creativity into the craft at hand. (No pun intended).
Who are your main influences?
There are many artists that I look at their work and say wow. In looking at color and energy I love the paintings of Franz Marc.
As far as imagination and creativity I love the ingenuity of Alexander Calder’s work. The Circus is my favorite. I think it was great how he would pack it up in a suitcase and bring it around to show people. Appropriate for the subject matter.
Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
For Modern Day Cowgirl Artworks, my horse Harley- 100 percent! She is little Red Dunn Quarter horse mare who turned 7 this year. I bought her as a 3 year old.
She has been my inspiration on so many levels. I consider myself a work in progress thanks to her. She has changed me from the inside out. I am a better person- more patient, kind, willing to change and take chances.
I am a better rider- relaxed, light and fluid or at least try really hard to be. I am also learning to let go and trust- I don’t always have to be in control and micro manage things. It is pretty amazing what animals can teach you.
Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
When I am creating art (murals) for restaurants or in people’s homes I am always on a deadline so I know I have to work fast and furious so getting into the zone is essential. Especially on commercial work where sometimes you have to start at 5 a.m. when the jobsite opens up. It’s not always easy to turn the juice on that early in the morning. So the drive to the site is where I have to psyche myself into the day. I listen to music- the genre depends on my mood for the day, and talk myself up in my head with I have to get done for the day and set goals. Kind of like how a coach does to his player before a game.
Then as far as getting into the zone for my personal work- Modern Day Cowgirl, that one is easy. I have a 2-year-old daughter. So I am on time restraints for when I can work. So I know that I have the 2-hour nap during the day, and then when my husband comes home from work or after bath and bedtime through the night. Then there are weekends (if I am not riding). So when I can steal the time it is like “Ready-Set-Create!”
Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
It varies from a nice quiet trail ride to the intense competition of Team Penning or just visiting the Barn or sitting on my back porch.
What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general? Has it had an effect on yours?
I think that the Internet is a very positive force and one of the best things to happen for artists in every genre. It is a great tool to help Artists get in touch with people, help gain fans of their works from all over, get it out there for people to enjoy, and connect on so many different levels. Artists have the opportunity to communicate with one another to problem solve, ask opinions, give opinions, get advice, give advice and learn- all without ever leaving the studio.
For me it has been an awesome and enlightening yet challenging, and sometimes an overwhelming experience. The Internet has given me the opportunity to reach out to people, galleries and other sites to introduce my work to all from the seat of my computer desk in my studio! There is nothing to snail mail and hope to get response in a few weeks, you generally hear back from people that day!
When I started all of this about 2 years ago all I knew how to do was check my email, type a letter, and surf the internet.
I am now building my website from the ground up, joining groups and discussions, learning about blogging, twitter, facebook, search engine placement, linking, you name it! I know that may sound like a lot, but I have a LONG way to go.
Which one is your personal favorite piece or mural?
As an illustrator/muralist you are always catering your art for and to other people so you learn to detach yourself in a way. The Art was never going to be “yours” to begin with as far as ownership.
I think that is why my newest body of art means so much to me. It is so personal for me, so near and dear to my heart because it came from inside of me, for me, and of course by me. There is no art direction to take, client to please, nothing but me to me from beginning to end. So I am just having a blast and enjoying the energy and every minute of it.
Would you ever sell it?
Absolutely! Well the great thing about printmaking is that they are created in Limited Editions so you always keep one for yourself.
What else are you passionate about?
I have a passion for travel and for learning new things. They kind of go hand in hand in a lot of ways. Traveling allows to see so many wondrous things that no matter where you go you will come home inspired to do something.
The world is magical place. You can learn about different cultures and ideologies, or see something in nature you have never seen before and marvel at it. Meet new people, try new things, taste new foods, the list is endless.
Working on anything new?
Over the past few years I have collected over 2,000 photographs from horse events and friends and family keep sending me more to add to my collection so I have a good amount of data to keep me busy for quite sometime. I just completed 3 new prints. “ Herd it from a Friend,” “Amazing Graze,” and the latest one is “Got Game.”
I am feeling really attached to my newest print “Got Game.” I took that photo at a team penning event in Harrisburg PA.
Since I do a lot of merchandising with my work, like t-shirts, note cards, kitchen towels and such, I think I might be using one to create my Christmas card.
More to Come
Thanks to Leiann for answering the interview and sharing her work. Be sure to check out her art website periodically for updates about her latest works.
Also stay tuned for more interviews with horse artists and photographers.
Are you a horse artist or do you know an equine artist you’d like to see featured? Add your name and website in the comments below or drop me a note to get involved.