i think the first time i saw leah's work was when a photo of this cat dress was being reblogged around tumblr. i think i even reblogged it myself. in fact, i know i did because there's pretty much no chance of me passing up anything kitty + amazing dress related. however, it wasn't until quite recently that i became fully aware of leah's shop and the wealth of amazing things she creates.
from leah goren lookbook of three block printed shirts on the theme meat.
leah's work, with its florals and pretty girls and prints of shoes and dresses, is seemingly innocent at first glance - but when looking deeper one starts to notice a certain look in the eyes, a little bit of loneliness in the crowd, a quiet gaze that speaks of worlds beneath the pretty surface. a world that is occupied with all the trials and self-reflection and despair that comes with youth and the hardships and sadness of growing up - the use of pattern often complimenting the emotion portrayed, sometimes open and free and others tight and confined, yet always beautiful.
leah lists among her favorite artists maira kalman, leanne shapton, sonia delaunay, richard diebenkorn - all of whose influences you can catch slight glimpses of in her work. the bittersweet sentiments of everyday life and relationships that kalman and shapton explore with their whimsical styles that hold much deeper meanings. and the serene solitude found in diebenkorn landscape is there too. the strong graphic repeating block shapes of geometric print and color leah uses just as delaunay did with extending her work into textiles. this is isn't to say that leah is simply a mash of her influence as her work certainly stands as something special entirely on its own.
leah was kind enough to agree to answer a few questions about herself and her work. i do hope you enjoy her interview below:
Name, Age, Location, Sites: Leah Reena Goren, 22, Brooklyn, NY, leahgoren.com
I'm a full time Illustration student at Parsons School of Design, and I also work for designer Mary Meyer and illustrator Julia Rothman.
Current Obsessions: Right now, ancient Egypt. I've been watching a lot of PBS specials about it, and I'm ready to go back to the Met soon and look at their collection for the hundredth time. They have these amazing gouache replicas of Egyptian patterns.
leah goren ankh dress
I first started drawing and painting when I was really little. My mom is an artist, and we would make really huge acrylic paintings in the back yard when I was little. They were amazing, way better than I am now. I painted my grandma's big brain and gave her dozens of red fingernails.
I have a running list of things I love that inspire me. It's good to look at when I don't feel like doing anything. Some of these things are California, the sun, kid's books, little colored houses, pretty girls, florals, and the future. Some of my favorite artists and illustrators are Maira Kalman, Leanne Shapton, Sonia Delaunay, and Richard Diebenkorn.
I make things mostly because I want people to have beautiful things, and I would be very happy if what I create makes them happy and makes their world look a little better. I focus making things for girls like myself, maybe younger or older, it doesn't matter, but it's who I relate to. I spend a lot of time alone drawing and painting and photoshopping and sewing, and it's so nice to then put what I've made out into the world or on the internet and have girls I don't even know respond. There's this constant dialogue between working in solitude and connecting with other girls, and illustration is amazing because I'm communicating through the images I make.
are you an artist, designer or crafter and want to be featured? send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or convo softspoken on etsy!