Name: Leigh Tuckniss
Hometown: Cape Town
Before we get started, tell us where you surf, what you ride, and are you a goofy or natural foot?
Well I’m a Muizenberg local; I love the chilled atmosphere and old school surfer town vibe. I used to ride a short board, but now I enjoy riding an eight-footer every now and again – and Muizies is perfect for that as we all know. Oh and I’m a natural.
Tell us a little bit about your art?
The terrain of concerns of my work rotates singularly yet abstractly around the concept of death, mortality, transformation and loss. The portrayal of such concerns exists within a space of curiosity and wonder rather than a morbid and violent interpretation. I work predominantly in Indian ink and allow the fluidity to express the soft edges and gentle mystery of such heavy topics.
I’m so intrigued with bones and skulls, but not in a weird way at all, I just find a beauty in their raw form and function. I also love combining arbitrary things together, using collage and contrasts; I believe that by combining two opposing pictures you can create quite a statement.
If you think back, can you remember your first piece of art you created?
I was always creating things when I was young, I cannot remember a specific thing as it ranged from building fairy fortresses in the garden to chalking up our drive way with a kaleidoscope of colours. My mother is also very creative and taught us to always watch nature and observe its beauties, so I guess art was/is always with me, whether I was making something or just observing it. But I do remember in primary school I used to hand paint and make a lot of my clothes, I think my class mates thought I was a little off the wall. Haha!
Why does art interest you?
Creativity is essentially who I am down to the core, I cannot imagine my life without it. There is no named purpose to art and perhaps that’s what makes it so curious and interesting. Art is just another beautiful gift we cannot understand, but we can fully accept it and indulge in its form and medium. Art simply makes my daily life a happier one.
From where (or whom) do you draw your inspiration?
Well, my grandfather was a well-travelled man and he had the largest National Geographic collection I had ever seen – he knew I loved them, so he left them to me when he passed away. The images in them are where I draw most of my inspiration from; to me they represent so much about life. I am also deeply inspired by water; it was in fact water that inspired my thesis for graduation. Water’s mystery, beauty and power are so incredible and so unchangeable. My mother always used to say how she just loved watching the surfers in action, because they would carve these beautiful lines into the waves, just like if someone was painting. I guess this is what inspires me too.
What art do you most identify with?
I identify with any art that expresses the soul and anything that can make me stop and gaze for a significant while. I love abstract art, but then again I just love it all!
What are your favourite mediums and what kind of projects do you like working on?
My favourite medium is painting; I cannot get enough of the smell of oils, the effect of the inks in water, the beauty of colours mixed together and gliding lines of the brush on its surface. Yes painting is definitely my vibe. haha.
Do you have a favourite work of art?
My own would be the large oil painting I did in fourth year, it’s a dark body of water with black swans, skulls, a man floating in the sea and a blue scorpion. It’s difficult to see the details as they are all just hinted – this still draws me in, I suppose this painting is the perfect example of what mystery I try to achieve in my work.
Do you have any exhibitions planned?
I’m planning on having a show at the end of the year, but nothing is finalised at all. I’m just going with the flow for now. I’m actually venturing into surfboard art and design on the side, so between the two I want to have something to show for it at the end of the year.
I have a blog leightucknissart.blogspot.com, which needs to be updated big time! However, I am available to personally show my work at any time, I actually prefer the work not photographed because I believe it loses some depth and detail.
What is your dream project?
My dream project would be to be part a massive exhibition which collaborate artists that range from street art, photography, music and performance art. I would love to live off my earnings and travel the world and collect artefacts from all the magical places. Another major dream would be to see everyone riding surfboards with my designs on them! Haha.
Lastly, tell us who your favourite artist is?
My favourite artists must be Bill Viola the videography artist, Hanna Hoch a German Dadaist artist and Jane Alexander a South African sculptor famous for her “Butcher Boys” – I really enjoy her attitude, how she doesn’t care what the world thinks of her and yet the world respects her so much.
Check out Leigh Tuckniss Surfboard Art on Facebook.
Artist’s Corner is presented by Volcom: