We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsea Leopold and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chelsea, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Balancing work and life has always been a struggle with me. I used to go through periods of high productivity with no downtime. I was really hard on myself last year with my art and my work schedule, that I needed a mental break. I didn’t practice art for a few months, and focused on my other hobbies like playing guitar and cooking. One of my goals this year was to stress less and avoid the work periods of all or nothing. Through reading books, I have been able to find more patience and lower stress levels by focusing on the story at hand, rather than the things on my to-do-list. I’m now more patient with myself and my work. If I don’t draw or paint one night, then I read or find inspiration, knowing I will get to draw tomorrow or the next day. Balance to me is really a push and a pull, a give or a take. I give myself time and energy for creating, but I take opportunities for mental relaxation any chance I can.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve always been curious about people, how we react to situations, how our minds work, etc. There are no two people that are identical in their thoughts and behavior. I was really into still life and telling a story through my art as a kid, but as an adult after many years of growth and looking inwards, I mostly draw and paint portraits. After art school, I got a job as a designer, and stopped really creating with my hands. I would feel burnt out coming home from work, all I wanted to do was eat or relax. I got in a motorcycle accident four years ago, and I broke my leg. I lived on the third story in a row home in Philadelphia at the time, and had to stay at my parents until I could walk again. My mom brought me home a sketch pad and pencils, and this was the only thing that kept me sane during the time I couldn’t walk. The silver lining to the accident was finding myself and my art again. I’m a virgo and a neat freak, so my art is where I can get messy and not focus on perfection. I combine scribbles and realism to create a blend of chaos and calm.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend came to visit, we’d spend a lot of time in Balboa park. There’s so much to do there, between all the museums, biking around, and having a picnic. We would definitely go to 30th street to enjoy all the breweries and shops. I’d have to take her to Bario Logan and check out the galleries, like La Bodega Art Gallery. We’d have to go to at least one of the local farmer’s markets to pick up ingredients to make dinner with. Finishing up with Sunset Cliffs to check out the sunset, marine layer permitting!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to recognize anyone that has expressed to me what my art has done for them. The best thing to hear from another, is that they have been inspired to do anything after viewing your work. Whether it’s an art student in high school, learning about a new technique or tool, or a retired artist who hasn’t picked up a pencil in years and now having the urge to draw. These people really help me keep going. As a creative, you are your biggest fan and hardest critic, so receiving these comments is really encouraging. I’d also like to recognize all the artists I admire (too many to name), for also inspiring and teaching. We need each other to continue to grow and flourish.
All images and art was created by Chelsea Leopold.