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Elaine Leader Interview

Monday 12th, September, 2016

Elaine Leader Interview

Elaine Leader is a sculptor whose practice involves drawing, architectural models and temporary experiential installations. Born in Dublin in 1970, she completed an MFA in Sculpture NCAD in 2012. Recent Exhibitions include 'Partition', Platform Arts, Belfast (2016), 'Suki Art Prize', Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast & Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin (2016) 'Primal Architecture / Roadkill', Irish Museum of Modern Art (2015) &  'All that remains to be seen' Catalyst Arts Gallery (2014).

Awards include Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary 2014, Lyric Theatre Public Art Commission 2013, RHA Studio Award 2013, Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary 2012, Arts Council Travel Awards (2000 & 1996); RHA Annual Print Award (1998); Arts Council Arts Flights (2001, 1997, 1994); Arts Council Studio Award (1996); Arts Council Materials Grant (1996) as well as Office of Public Works Per Cent for Art Scheme (2001), Commission for the National Library, Dublin.

Elaine will be taking part in this years NOISE Careers event "Making a Living From Your Art".

When and why did you decide to take up your chosen career?

I started in Art College in 1992, not having previously studied art in school. I wanted to engage in something creative so began a portfolio course and from there figured out which route I wanted to take.

Did you find it difficult to break into this industry, what tips would you give to any young person trying to break into your industry?

I would advise anyone to have a good look around all of the art colleges and figure out what would be the best fit for them. I joined the Black Church Print Studio in Temple Bar in 1995. This provided me with many valuable opportunities, a great peer network, as well as a super studio environment to work in. I think this connection with other artists as well as a group studio helps with the transition from college and keeps one connected to the activities of the art world. It's important to get out there and create opportunities for yourself.

Who or what has had the greatest influence on you & your work?

My peers have been a great influence on me, both within and outside of the art world. I have been lucky enough to meet engaged peers on the MA course I did recently. It's always good to discuss creative process and progress with peers and keeps you on your toes.

What is the most challenging project you have ever worked on?

A lot of the projects I have been involved in tend to be ambitious and challenging and require me to reach out to other expertise. Since 2012 I have made a number of large scale installations that involve working with engineers, electricians, carpenters and a host of other people who have a different expertise. This has always involved a high risk strategy. All of the installations involve kinetic elements and are worked out before hand with drawings and scale models, however, the 'trying and testing' can only ever happen during the week of the gallery install, so it is not always guaranteed to work. Occasionally there have been improvisations and the process can be stressful but it has always been worthwhile and rewarding.

What is the best piece of professional advice you have ever received?

Work makes work! Get out there and make things happen.


NOISE Careers: Making a Living From Your Art

Mon 17th Oct 5.30pm - 7.00pm
Venue: County Library Tallaght & Gallery 1 RUA RED South Dublin Arts Centre
Hear from artists working in Dublin and further afield, find out how they have established themselves
Speakers: Elaine Leader; Matthew Nevin (MART); more tba
To book a free place please contact Tallaght Library at talib@sdublincoco.ie or on (01) 4620073.