The Lionheart Five: An Interviewwith Leslie Giuliani

The Lionheart Gallery
Jan 29, 2017 7:46PM

Five questions we ask every artist.

1. Name one of your most defining moments as an artist. 

LG: While visiting master printer, Judith Solodkin’s Solo Editions NY studio, I saw digital embroidery work she had done on artists’ editioned prints, Louise Bourgeois and Liliana Porter, to name two of several. I fell in love with the mix of the image with the tactile embroidery. I loved how Judith interpreted the artists’ drawings faithfully in stitches. I knew I had to learn how to embroider on artwork for myself and to be in service to other artists. Immediately, I took a leap of faith and invested heavily in the hardware and software only to find the process opaque and not at all intuitive. I spent the next year interning with a commercial embroiderer just to wrap my head around the process. Five years later, I am still learning and still loving it. One of the best things was that I was actually able to do stitch work on a print for one of my inspirations, Liliana Porter. 

2. Do you collect anything? 

LG: I do not, unless you count usable materials like colors and types of thread. Never enough colors of thread!!!

3. If you could choose anyone—and we mean anyone—whom would you pick as a mentor? 

LG: I would choose Louise Bourgeois. She blended thoughtful, powerful fine art with both simple and complex craft to great effect.

4) What’s the most indispensable item in your studio? 

LG: It would have to be the combination of my powerful Husqvarna Viking sewing/embroidery machine and my digitizing software. Without them I could never program and stitch out my drawings. 

5) Tell us about one piece of art in this exhibition. You might describe your inspiration, your process, the title, what the work signifies to you… 

LG: It would have to be “Roswell”. It was the first in the series and where everything came together for me. I was working in silkscreen master printer, Gary Lichtenstein’s studio at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City last year silkscreening images on encaustic paintings. We had been working on wood, traditional for encaustic painting because it is rigid like the wax. I was also experimenting with painting on a new paper/cloth material, Encaustiflex. To my delight, the painting stayed flexible on this stuff. I silkscreened the heads onto several random paintings and went home. Inspired, I tried to sew through the waxed Encaustiflex. It worked beautifully. I then took it to the next level and embroidered heavily through the paintings. I painted and embroidered without premeditation and amassed a pile of random pieces. Laying them next to each other, I composed a larger image and sewed it all together, a very cumbersome business. When I looked at the final piece, a narrative occurred to me: Idyllic youth confronted by the unknown. This made me think of the alien sightings in Roswell, New Mexico. My process was established: Paint, print and embroider freely with no thought to the final piece. Put it together and see what you got. The rest of the work grew from that.

Roswell, Leslie Giuliani

The Lionheart Gallery