Take a peek inside the studio of artist and sculptor Leah Fraser: the Bronte-based creative took time to share her favourite neighbourhood addresses and the evocative stories behind her lyrical work.
What ignited your love of painting and sculpture, and can you reveal your process?
“I actually love so many forms of creative expression. I always feel I might have been a dancer or a writer or worked in fashion just as much as what I do right now. What I love about painting is that it can be pure fantasy: you can imagine a whole picture that is its own universe. The reason I am most drawn to painting and sculpture is that I am very hands on. A major part of the creative process for me is tied up in that need to touch and build and see the form emerge.”
Your artwork is so beautifully rich and evocative – can you describe your creative viewpoint:
“I have always been intrigued by the ways that people try and understand existence. I blend different ideas and philosophies of life and religion into my own sort of dreamscapes. What I find most interesting are stories that involve our connection to nature, and have symbolic and allegorical content. These religious and folkloric stories that we have been telling for all time, reveal a collective consciousness and I like to play with the imagery that this unveils.”
Tell us about your base in Bronte, and what you love most about this location:
“Bronte is one of Sydney’s most beautiful coastal suburbs. I am a real ocean person, and love the proximity to the water. The Bronte 'bogey hole' is a stunning natural formation and my favourite place to swim. I do the coastal walk, heading either north towards Tamarama or south to Coogee almost every day. The shops nearby have the most lovely community feeling: my favourites are Iggy’s Bread for beautiful bread and organic veggies, and Orchard St. where I go for juices and other magical treats.”
What are some of your other favourite spots around Sydney?
The Orange Grove organic markets in Lilyfield – it’s lovely to wander here and shop for the week, eating delicious snacks. In summertime I love Parsley Bay, it's so pristine and unique. I love going to Avalon, the beach is so beautiful and the shops have such a lovely vibe. A lazy stroll through the Royal Botanic Garden and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair – there is so much history here, it is so amazing to stand under the trees.
Can you reveal a little about how your style translates across everything, from the clothes you wear, to your home, and your art – is there a common theme?
“I am mostly attracted to things that are quite reflective of the natural world; things that feel antique and have history. It's evident in my home and in the way that I dress. Objects and fabrics that are around me in my home find their way into paintings all the time.”
As a mother, how are you encouraging creativity in your daughter, Odette?
“I think that children are naturally creative, and the best thing I can do is to allow her curiosity and experimentation. I am trying to give her as little plastic as possible and just stick with simple wooden toys. Like all kids, she will make a toy out of anything – from a paper bag to a toothbrush, and I think it's best to let her imagination lead the way.”