Mon | Nov 19, 2018

The inner workings of Leighton Estick

Published:Sunday | October 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMKrysta Anderson
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American-Polish novelist Jerzy Kosinski, once said, "The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke." And awakening the artistic senses with the pleasures of his inner work is illustrator, graphic designer and muralist Leighton Estick.

The multitalented Estick has always considered himself artistic. His oldest memory stems from drawing and colouring Sonic the Hedgehog when he was only two years old. Deemed a quiet child by his mother, he kept himself busy daily, making just about anything centred around art. At age three, he watched his uncle sketch a chair in 3D. Amazed by the way in which his uncle was able to interpret an actual 3D object on a 2D surface such as paper, this encouraged him to follow in his footsteps.

 

NATURAL INCLINATION

 

"I would draw, paint and rub crayons on anything when I ran out of paper - the back of school awards, back of books, walls, pieces of wood - to the extent that my father would often joke that, if you got too close to me, I'd draw on you, too. Basically, I cannot remember a single moment in my life when I was not making art ... it defines my identity and makes me who I am," he told Outlook in a recent interview.

His passion was later fostered by an excessive need to get better and challenge himself to reach another level of craftsmanship.

Academically, art was naturally his favourite subject. In preparatory school, he would experiment with different stories and play with watercolours, crayons and other media. This continued into secondary schooling at Meadowbrook High, where he once again aligned himself with the more artistic cliques.

"We had what I believe to be a great art programme at Meadowbrook, which allowed for freedom of expression and idea making."

Likening his artistic process to a 'grand reveal' into the inner workings of the mind, he is primarily inspired by his family, friends and persons he has had discussions or shared ideas with. His work is also inspired by things he has observed, whether in nature or in literature. Thriving on curiosity, he craves information and gets excited by the mere thought of learning something new. With the desire to try new things and experience other ways of accomplishing a particular goal, he applies an avant-garde approach to his work, interpreting fascinating stories through remarkable images.

Resolute, he is open to and will absorb multiple interpretations of different ideas or events before making an informed decision. This brings out his workaholic side, because he never stops - spending days translating what his thoughts are, or even dreams and fantasies while sleeping, into art. And through all things, he exercises patience. While he eradicates the word 'can't' from his vocabulary, he is also aware that not everything will work out in his favour.

"My job is to make the best use of whatever I am presented with. I sometimes welcome it because it challenges me to try different strategies."

His final and most memorable piece is Origin - his Edna Manley final-year independent study and exhibition piece of this year. He describes this body of work as a culmination of years of artistic practice and input from all his lecturers at the tertiary, secondary and elementary levels. The 64' x 8' mural contains a number of illustrations falling under the theme of religious and scientific cosmology.

So what's next for the artist? He hopes to continue his growth and development as a professional designer, welcoming the challenge of bettering his work with open arms.

 

CHALLENGING PERCEPTIONS

 

"I want to go above and beyond in creating more impactful, more emotional, more extreme and powerful works of art; I want to learn more and expand my horizons within and outside of art, creating art that will at one moment make persons happy, or make them cry with joy or sadness. I want to produce works that propel audiences into a whole other plane of existence, challenging our perceptions as to what is real from what is fantasy. My art is not about me, it is for my audience; I am but an interpreter."

What he likes to do outside of work, is work. But as far as more leisurely activities go, he takes long walks in nature. He's in euphoric awe of the trees, grasslands and flowers. He watches, for instance, how ants, bees and birds work hard to ensure the survival of their own colonies, and this inspires him to do the same for his own. He also enjoys stargazing, listening to music and playing his guitar whenever his hands and eyes need a break.

His advice to aspiring artists is simple: never give up.

"Always find something within art or outside of it to motivate you to continue. Never be satisfied with where you presently are as a craftsperson, and try to push your limits," he declared.

For more information on how you can get a hold of the inner workings of Leighton Estick for yourself, visit his website www.verovitae.com, or check him out on Facebook at Leighton Estick and Instagram: @designucleusjm.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com