Earlier this year, we found the talented Leah Clough at the Handmade Hong Kong fair. After running a short and sweet write up, we thought it would be even better to feature Leah in an interview, and some sneak peaks into some of her interesting works.
When did your journey in Art begin?
Probably when I was very little, I loved making things from scratch – pop up cards, notebooks, jewelry etc, when my friends came over I use to make them make things too.The TV program “Art Attack” springs to mind. I loved that show or anything that involved creating. I remember I use to have this toy called a creepy crawlies oven where you made bugs from ‘slime’. I was delighted with the fact you could make something solid and fun from paste in a tube via this ‘oven’.
That idea of transformation or just getting to use the imagination really motivated and brought out the enthusiast in me. At school I always tried to spin a project into something thing that involved design or crafts.
How did you see yourself when you first started? Has this changed?
When I was in secondary school I always thought that I would go into fashion or painting but I ended up gravitating towards a Drawing and Applied arts degree. It was during my course in Wimbledon when I really found drawing and it became my niche and place, especially after discovering pen and ink and challenging myself with size and scale.
I never thought that I would specialize in drawing as my previous work from school was a little on the installation or amateur sculpture side – trying to produce things from whatever I could get my hands on. I had big ideas but could never execute them to how they looked in my mind. With ink and pen I can control and perfect what I want to produce. I like the simplicity of using a good stock of paper and pen and producing all these lines and contours from flat space.
Where do you hope to be in five years’ time?
In Hong Kong still teaching, my cards and illustrated gifts displayed in boutiques, with a long list of past, future exhibitions and collaborations with other artists in different fields.
I’d love to do more drawings for textiles, ceramics, wallpaper and murals…there are so many ideas and plans!
Can you share with us your thoughts about Hong Kong and United Kingdom from your experience in the art world?
London has so much going on in the art world, it was hard to take it all in and see everything. It has wonderful museums, my two favorites being the V&A and the Natural History Museum. It also has this world of smaller galleries and a great exhibiting life in the day and evening.
I think art in Hong Kong is quite exciting, as it really seems to be growing and expanding. It feels like its much more open and experimental then it was when I first left to university ten years ago. There are more art fairs, competitions, galleries, project spaces and online art platforms. I strangely find that there are more opportunities for me here creatively then there was in London. How ever, what was nice about the UK was that there are galleries and art awards dedicated to drawing in its own right.
What are the three things that people should know about you?
About my work – I am drawer of botanical fiction, a lover of lines and detail.
I am happiest when … I could not write that down to one thing only!!
I love … a good paper and print shop.
To me, Hong Kong is … HOME
I’d love to experience … Japan
I’d love to meet … Dr Shirley Sherwood and ask if I could spend a day looking through the Sherwood archive and collection of botanical art.
My advice to Art students is … take advantage of all the facilities you can use at college or university and find out what tools or methods you love to use the most.
My message to art lovers: Go experience as much art as possible and see work that really captivates you and gets you talking or perhaps the opposite – makes you speechless and keeps you there. *All images of Leah’s artwork belong to the artist.