Explore the artworks and story of Chicago based artist Sarah Leuchtner. She uses shapes, signage, and color inspiration from her memories of Las Vegas. She wants the viewer to look at her work and visually connect with it, but not know why or where they’ve seen the forms before.
Sarah Leuchtner is a contemporary artist based in Chicago, Illinois, working in painting and sculpture. Leuchtner has shown in Chicago, New York, Italy and South Korea.
We first discovered Sarah over the Hans Gallery in Chicago, and then connected on Instagram.
I was always creative growing up but the moment I found out that I was an artist was when I drew this portrait of Stevie Wonder in high school, and I thought, “wow, I’m not too shabby at drawing!”
I’m also reminded every day that I’m supposed to be an artist because I always have to be making things. I’m not sure why, but the drive and impulse is always there.
I‘m from Chicago – north of the city and I traveled a lot as a child. My parents wanted me to experience new places, cultures, people, food, etc.
One place in particular that I would travel often to when I was growing up was the Southwest, specifically Las Vegas.
I have so many childhood memories of staying at the iconic Flamingo hotel, it was my favorite! These memories are actually inspiring my latest body of work.
My studio is where I work best! I love having a space that’s free of distractions and outside influences. An extra large coffee always helps too!
I try to spend as much time in my studio as I possibly can – whether I’m inspired or not so inspired.
Even if I sit there for hours watching my horrible reality tv – it’s still productive studio time because I’m with my work – looking at it, thinking about it, it’s all important for my practice.
I rarely make an artwork in one sitting. I work on a bunch of pieces simultaneously, and their progress slowly moves along together.
I prefer daylight hours when I’m in my studio because that’s when I can see color best.
Lately I’ve been seeing my painting compositions in my dreams and that’s how I’ve been able to resolve them.
Especially a few of my larger paintings that I’ve been hesitating on the next move.
My inspiration comes from a lot of different sources.
From books I’ve picked up at the resale shop to my overarching theme of what it’s like to be an artist this day and age to reality tv shows and why they’re a guilty pleasure to what shaped me as a young person.
I create an alphabet of shapes – many are from signage and logos – and I try to examine those shapes until I’ve exhausted them, figured them out.
When it comes to selecting colors, I often find myself subconsciously choosing colors that I see around me – like the color of the floor or the color of my coffee mug.
My newest body of work has been visually inspired by childhood memories and trips to Las Vegas.
The entire city looks almost like a prop or movie set – everything is a reproduction of something else and I find that so weird and fascinating.
Why do people want to go see a reproduction of classical sculpture at a casino? There’s something so theatrical about it.
I’ve taken shapes, signage, and color inspiration from Las Vegas to influence my newest paintings.
That, in conjunction with my emoji-type forms and found objects are making these paintings feel mysteriously nostalgic.
I aim for the viewer to look at my work and visually connect with it, but not know why or where they’re seen the forms before.
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A big thank you to the wonderful artist Sarah Leuchtner for sharing her work and her story with us.