One of a kind artist, LeonD finds his inspiration in History, Literature as well as Japanese Manga. Dark and colorful, sometimes scary yet filled with hidden messages, LeonD’s sketches and drawings are moving.
Childhood memories mixed with adult interpretation allowed us to identify LeonD’s work with a culture we also share. Always on the move, LeonD allows his own work to evolve with time and knowledge, as much technical as emotional. His collection is consistent and could even be considered a retrospective in which we can admire always progressing skills.
LeonD shared his experience as well as a great deal of his intimacy welcoming us in his home. It could seem paradoxical but in most cases, the scariest moment for an artist is when he shows his artworks. Letting the public have a direct interaction, anxiously waiting the judgment. This usually explains why an artist doesn’t really wishes to promote his old works, not confident enough about the results.
LeonD kindly authorized us to look back in his previous catalogs. We wanted to understand his “world” and the art evolution. He did play along with us and opened up joyfully.
That precise evolution is not only technical, going from sketches to digital support, but also evolved side by side with LeonD’s topics as he was gaining a great deal of culture. Faith and beliefs for example, are two matters inflowing the pieces.
Eyes laughing he was waiting for our reactions, perhaps he even intended to shock us. Whatever the goal was, it succeeded and we both kept a very good memory of his talent.
We all sat in the living room where he managed to spoil us with treats and fruits in such a way that I began to wonder if we could ever start the small interview we planned for him.
Comfortably sited in our couches, dates and juices lying on the table, we discussed about the street art scene, the differences between Bahrain and other places, the role of a graffiti artist in society… What caught our attention was that he was keen on repeating that he didn’t want to impose anything to anyone. Meaning, that he is not obsessed with pleasing everybody.
Next day we arranged a meeting at his favored spot in Bahrain. At the end of the bridge linking Manama to Muharraq, here stands a small fishermen’s harbor. Resting under the bridge, boats are barely ready to sail the sleepy waters.
LeonD was waiting for us in front of an amazing overview facing Manama bay. Stunts on thin wooden handmade bridges, in single file, we soon disappeared behind a small “village” composed of sheds. The fishermen usually rest there, preserved from the merciless sun before heading back on the sea.
“Here it is!” he said. The view was breathtaking. Melchior, shot invariably, turning on himself, catching every moves at the surface of the sea. Couldn’t prevent myself from being relieved of not having snorkeling equipment. I am pretty confident, Mel would have jumped in order to photograph under the sea as frenetically.
It was a good day, and the spot also became one of our preferred on the Island.
Few weeks after, we planned an encounter with DJ Outlaw and Flipperachay. They’ve agreed to welcome us in Outlaw’s old studio. Warm welcome, we climbed the stairs and discovered a completely self-made studio. Flipp was there, warming up for a show he would perform later on the week.
“We so fly” Flipp’s tee-shirt is named after one of his main song. We sat and discussed a bit about their collaboration. DJ Outlaw is now a renowned rap music producer and managed to gather several artists of the region in order to record “Arab World Unite”, celebrating a much needed unity between Nations sharing a common language and culture.
The song became a tube. As for Flipp he knew he wanted to sing since his childhood. Mainly in English, Flipp raps and composes since he is eighteen. “I find my inspiration while driving through Bahrain”, he said smiling.
They offered us with a special treat and agreed to show us how they work. In the studio Flipp improvised while DJ Outlaw, sitting on the other side of the window, was mixing, both in total harmony. The beat filled the room and I caught Mel and myself moving our fingers and heads within the rhythm.
Urban art is definitely a common language, but it’s the way you perform it that gives the uniqueness, the feeling you are off routine.