Leia Bryans is a Lisbon-based painter, originally from Toronto. Her recent work features the feminine form in various poses such as reading, reclining, or applying makeup. There's a stillness in these poses that evoke a quiet joy in the ordinary, or simply, the experience of a woman who takes the time to be alone with herself. Leia chats to VSP about finding her artistic practice in a city an ocean away.
When did you start painting?
I've been painting for the last couple of years but it’s only in the last year or so that I've finally felt comfortable showing my work. Recently, it's felt more natural to me. I work as an illustrator as well as an exhibiting artist, but I'm self-taught. There's something about being able to visually document my progression as a painter—I'm learning as I go.
Where do you find inspiration?
I'm inspired by the female form and the many shapes it can take. For a long time I'd figured I was on my way to a more fashion-oriented career path, so I spent a lot of time looking at women, the way clothing falls on the body, and feminine silhouettes.
What propelled you to make the move to Portugal?
I was looking for a change of scenery and I've always been drawn to the southern parts of Europe. Aside from it being a beautiful country, my way of life has completely changed and I think that's been important for how I approach my practice.
What would you like your art to communicate to its audience?
I've spent a lot of time drawing and painting the female form in different capacities and I've shifted away from the simplicity that comes with line drawings. Through the use of colour and exaggerated proportions, I want to show the many facets of femininity. Ultimately I like to show women taking up space within their surroundings.
What are you looking forward to in the near future?
I will be showing work at 'Galeria Malapata' at the beginning of June. I'm looking to start working on larger scale pieces. And also many more collaborations! I love to collaborate.