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Artist Nikki Ray (Leafsea) on Love in Her Work

Q. Could you give us a brief bio about yourself? Like where are you from? What do you study? What are you’re goals for the future if you’ve thought that far or maybe you’re just going with the flow?

A. I’m studying English literature and will be graduating this spring. I used to have really concrete goals for my future, but now I’m just kind of trying things out, taking life day-by-day.

Q. Your art seems to be very personal do the quotes in your pieces come from personal experience? Where does the inspiration for the short prose in your work come from?

A. Yeah, all of my art, writing or visual, is influenced by how I’m feeling in the moment, or things that have happened to me in the past. It’s a very cathartic process.

Q. You’re pieces are very simple and often use sort of childish imagery (like stickers and crayons) but are a bit dark. What draws you to the look? How do you want people to react to when they view your work?

A. Aesthetically, I’m drawn to the contrast between childlike imagery and darker themes. Part of that is probably because a lot of my anxieties stem from my childhood. Any kind of reaction is fine with me, though I’d like for my work to be relatable, to help people feel less alone in their feelings.

Q. You’re art often touches on the subject of love but not necessarily in a very positive way. Have you ever been heartbroken? Do you believe in true love?

A. I’ve definitely been heartbroken, and in my art I try to express various forms of that feeling–romantic and otherwise. As for true love, I think that depends on your definition. In general I don’t believe in perfect or ideal love; there’s always some kind of flaw that you have to work through.

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Q. On your youtube channel you talk about having been in an abusive relationship. Do you have any tips on how to spot abusive behavior or what to do if you find yourself in an abusive relationship?

A. One of the biggest red flags is if they start trying to control your behavior, like telling you what you can and cannot do or say. If someone tries to limit how you express yourself, even in subtle ways, it’s a sign that they don’t have good intentions. It’s best to cut ties with them in the beginning, since it only gets harder to leave with time.

Q. How important have your experiences with love been in informing the content of your art? Would you consider it to be one of the main themes of your work? If not what do you consider to be the main theme and if so what else?

A. I think the themes definitely vary. Some of it is about love (or rather the absence of it), and others are about not being comfortable in one’s own body, trauma, alienation, dissociation, etc.

Q. Based off your experience would you say love is worth it? Is it worth getting hurt for? Do you think a person can live a fulfilling life without romantic love?

A. I think a person can definitely live a fulfilling life without romantic love. Whether or not it’s worth it depends on what you value I guess. I’m still kind of undecided about that.

Q. Do you have any thoughts about love or relationships or about staying true to yourself that you would like to share?

A. I’d say, just do what you think is important. The things that you find meaningful will constantly be changing, but it’s worth chasing that, whatever it is. If it’s romantic love that you want, go for it. If it’s something entirely different, that’s fine too.

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For more art from Leafsea check out her Tumblr

 

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