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Friday's Guest Artist Amber Leilani

New Orleans is filled with many fantastic artists.  So why not interview some of them once in a blue moon?  Lucky for me that my good friend and artist Amber of Amber Leilani Designs allowed me to interview her.
Amber is originally from Plains, GA and had visited New Orleans several times before deciding to make it her home in 1997.  Currently she sculpts paper clay into these fabulous dolls but before we get into that let us see how she got there.
Witches, dolls, and monsters oh my!
I met Amber at a gallery here in NOLA many, many, moons ago.  Back then she was designing and creating some incredible beaded jewelry.  My favorite are her beaded bracelets but she has also made some beautiful pendants.
Work in progress.
Picture by Amber Leilani
Amber had attend art school back in the day but decided it was not for her.  She is mainly self-taught and works part-time here in the city.

How does an artist function when they have to work AND do their art at the same time?
Amber's answer is, "I don't do it very well".  But if you ask me she does if VERY well.

What lead Amber to sculpting dolls?
Well, legend has it that one day while reaching for the remote control behind her sofa, Amber dislocated her wrist and tore a tendon.  This made it very difficult to work with tiny beads.  She turned to paper art.  Starting with rubber stamps and mixed media paintings to decorate her house but here is where the inspiration hit her.  She was meandering along the aisles of a book store where a magazine caught her eye.  It was Art Doll Quarterly.  She instantly became enamored! In her words, "I went out and bought my first block of paper clay and never looked back!"  Amber did not know how to sculpt but she learned quickly.
Amber's earlier work.
Picture by Amber Leilani
What and whom inspires you?
"Frida Kahlo, Day of the Dead, and just Creepy Stuff!"  I believe that this is why we connected.  We both LOVE Day of the Dead and Frida Kahlo.
Day of the Dead and Frida Kahlo doll.
What is next for Amber?  
Time for her to join the circus and head out of town!   

Her upcoming show will be held at Mariposa Gallery in Alburquerque, New Mexico on July 6, 2012, where she will be showing off a series of dolls.  Her inspiration for this show has been Grimm's Fairy tales
Little Red
Briar Rose
Those pictures were only teasers.  Visit Amber's blog to see the entire collection. You will not be disappointed.  

Her work can be found at Plum, Ragin' Daisy, Gogo, Poets Gallery (all located here in New Orleans) and at Mariposa Gallery in Albuquerque, NM.  She also has an Etsy store.

Talk about following your bliss! 
That is Amber in her Studio.
Congratulations Amber on your upcoming show!!! XO

Hope you enjoyed my guest artist.  Now it is time to go and create something, anything!  Have a great Friday and weekend!


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