Just in case you did not catch this interview of Leah on my Portrait of a Girl and Her Art blog, I’m reposting it here, center stage.
Leah Olbrich is a fascinating young artist, and a wonderful young woman. Enjoy.
(Leah is featured in “Portrait of a Girl and Her Art”on page 43 and page 70).
Leah was instrumental in literally putting “Portrait of a Girl” together. She helped write, design and layout the pages, so it’s natural to pick Leah for the first blog interview. I am so very proud to bring you up to date about Leah’s Master’s degree work in puppetry:
Elena:Why did you want to pursue a Master’s degree?
Leah:I have an undergraduate degree in illustration. I chose that major because I am compelled to draw, and illustration satisfied the drawing and experimental component of exploring quirky creatures and people in my work. I decided to go to graduate school to take the quirky creatures and people to the next level and create them in three dimensions. By the time I got to the end of my undergrad work in art school, I felt I had just gotten my feet wet with the 3-D work. I decided it was important to try to find guided exploration in the 3-D realm and that became puppetry.
Elena: What is your definition of puppetry?
Leah: I’ve come to realize that my definition of puppetry is less the performance aspect but more the craftsmanship of building puppets.
Elena: You would rather create the creatures and leave the performance to others?
Leah:I’m not one hundred percent, sure yet what I’ll want to do in the end, but things that I’m currently exploring are stop motion animation, special effects, character design and development, sculpture, and 3-D illustration. Once you really start paying attention to how much “puppetry” is used in the art world, you can see just how much you can do in the field.
Elena: Who are your heros of 3-D?
Leah:I love the Brothers Quay, Jan Svankmajer, David Michael Friend, the early work of Tim Burton, Brian Froud‘s work with Jim Henson, Red Nose illustration studio, Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, and Ralph Steadman just to name a few:)
Elena: What would you like to leave us with?
Leah: I find that things are most interesting when they are imperfect in life and in art, because you have to discover the beauty in them or define the beauty for yourself. Beauty does not have to be beautiful. It can be grotesque or grungy. In puppetry, this can be challenging because there is a desire for anthropomorphic qualities, but human movement is not always achievable nor desired. You have to make specific decisions; should the creature be real, representational? It boils down to aesthetic style- perception, or how you would like the audience to perceive what they are viewing. An example is Sesame Street where the puppets simply bop around and a marionette that moves as close as possible to how a real human or creature moves.
Elena:Any advice for young artists?
Leah: Don’t be afraid to try a million materials. Put you brain in your hands and let your hands do the thinking.