Paintings showcase Lucas grad Alex Leonard’s passion for music

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Things are coming full circle for a young London artist.

With 22-year-old Alex Leonard’s return to London comes a showing of 45 of his paintings at Masonville Public Library in August — the same place that showed his very first paintings in the series five years ago.

Leonard graduated from A.B. Lucas in 2012, and as part of his Grade 12 art-class assignment created two paintings of well-known house music DJ deadmau5 and EDM music DJ Skrillex having a conversation with each other. His paintings were shown at the library alongside other artwork from his graduating class and spurred him to create more.

Leonard studied communications at Concordia University in Montreal and said that his experiences in the vibrant, artistic city have fostered his interest in art and entertainment.

“My interest continued because Lucas gave me the materials to expand my work,” said Leonard. “And then it just expanded when I was in Montreal.”

Leonard worked as an entertainment journalist while he studied, writing about various music festivals in Montreal like Osheaga and Piknic Electronik. As a result of his reporting, he had the chance to meet many of the artists he painted and interviewed them for some of his stories.

His paintings — which are made with a mixture of acrylic paint, paint markers and collage — feature quotes from some of his interviews, song lyrics and even words that the artists themselves filled in.

“I consider myself to be friends with some of them now,” said Leonard. “Like Bob Moses from Vancouver, my artwork is on their Instagram.”

Now that Leonard is back in London, he wants to help contribute to the art scene in the city but plans to stray away from entertainment-based artwork and journalism.

“I want to go into environmental journalism,” said Leonard. “I want to talk about policy and politics and ideally work with an NGO (non-governmental organization).”

Leonard said that he thinks there are elements of the live music scene that don’t necessarily speak to reality.

Besides this series, Leonard created one called the Elephant Survival Series which was inspired by a trip to elephant sanctuaries in Cambodia and Thailand. The eight-painting collage and mixed media series is meant to raise awareness about elephant injustices, and 100 per cent of proceeds from sales will go to the sanctuaries he visited.

He is also starting a new series called The Viking’s Universe. It will be done in spray paint and oil paint and will raise awareness about climate change.

“This series, it’s a big chapter of my life,” said Leonard about his music-based work. “And now I’m trying to close this involvement with the live music.”

Leonard’s paintings will be on display from Wednesday to Aug. 31 at Masonville Public Library.

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