“I see something and wonder – what could I do with that?” – Leroy
Leroy doesn’t like to call himself a ‘traditional artist’. He’s not just a painter, or a sculpture – most of his work is made from recycled materials or found objects, like bottle caps. “I just love the creative process,” he says. “For me, it’s therapy. It’s like a meditation.”
Though he’s always been an artist, much of Leroy’s artistic growth developed during his time at a government assistance program close to fifteen years ago. “It was the best 10 to 12 years of my life,” he says, “because all we got to do was create.” Every day, Leroy would head down to the centre, which was filled with all sorts of art material; paint and brushes, crayons, coloured pencils and found objects.
“I could do anything I wanted,” Leroy said. At the atelier, Leroy became an expert in papier maché. Recognized for his talent and prior work in display, he would do decor work for the space. He would later move on to guiding workshops and teaching new members.
As an artist, Leroy’s work is versatile: from colourful candlesticks that moonlight as plant stands to bottle-cap art arranged in star-shaped pattern. Leroy’s curiosity is key in his artistic endeavours. These days, Leroy’s artwork is based mainly in paintings and sculptures made with found objects.
This is the norm for Leroy’s creative process – an interest in some found object or material, his attention caught by some facet of its quality – shape, colour, or size. He often doesn’t know how the object will be used until much later, a process he says is guided by his intuition. There’s no time limit to his artistic practice – Sometimes a piece may take minutes to reach completion, but the journey can span months, or even years.
His work is marked in its visual complexity, like the layering of various objects – like bottle caps – on a colored canvas. To Leroy, colour is joy and happiness. He likes to create art that will attract people’s attention and make them smile. “Colour for me is joy, is happiness,”, Leroy says. “I like to do things that will make people smile, or attract their attention.”
A long-time member of ACCM, Leroy often guides art workshops for the community.
Leroy’s primary instrument in creation is his intuition. “I don’t plan anything, necessarily,” he says. “I may start by seeing something, a vision of something, but it doesn’t always work out to be that. I come to my intuition.”
As a spiritual person, Leroy is guided by his intuition in all facets of life. “Intuition for me is like the universe talking to me. So if I start doing something and I’m not getting anywhere, I put it aside.”
By intuition, he means his higher power, or source. It’s what lets him know where to go next – both in life, and in his artistic practice.
When it comes to art, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t – and that’s the process. Just like life, it’s trial, error, and an abundance of patience.
Browse Leroy’s works on ACCM’s Etsy page: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AIDSCommunityCareMTL