Barry Leader

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Folk Art Heads by Barry Leader

I have always been fascinated with faces – the use of color and the reuse of items brings it all together in a new direction that I am having fun exploring.

I first create at my giant 8 foot band saw.  Each facial feature is created between my fingers and the saw blade – with fingers that are too close to the saw blade – the dangerous part.  After assembling the facial expression, the head is painted with several coats of paint starting with a basecoat of black paint.

The top of each head or the “hair”, consists of going to flea markets and searching for something that speaks to me.  I shop early in the morning at Shupps Grove, where I have been shopping for 40 years.  It is an outdoor market with the vendors set up in a wooded grove.  I find items that have used up their original usefulness, items that as a society, we no longer use because something better replaced it – like the 5 hand crank mixers I bought this past weekend.  The patents on the mixers indicate how revolutionary, new and exciting and work saving these devices were when first invented.  But now they were on a pile, slightly rusted, worn and used.  I liked their shape and the movement.  I loved the idea of giving them a new life. They will adorn the latest piece, “Sometimes I Get A Little Mixed Up”.

The head and the base are then decorated with beads, buttons, glass, jewelery beer cans, mirror pieces and anything else I can find.

Folk Art Paintings by Barry Leader

My latest paintings are entitled “Living Room Scenes”.  My acrylic paintings of living rooms on wooden panels, include some animals not normally seen in a living room, like my chickens and cows.  In an omage to Vincent Van Gogh who enjoyed painting his bedroom, my living rooms scenes are also a blend of the brightest colors.

I find a calmness in each imaginary scene of total color.  Being a gardener and floral designer, I include flowers in many of the rooms.

A theme of repetitious design details is apparent throughout all of the paintings.  The bright colors continue onto the frames.