Art of CBD: Leigh Wells

Art of CBD: Leigh Wells

Meet visual artist Leigh Wells! Leigh is known for collaging dissimilar, contrasting objects, which offers up a truly fresh perspective on unusual pairings.

By removing these materials from their original contexts and combining them in unique ways, her work creates spatial and narrative ambiguity that leaves us inspired. Leigh notes, “While visually abstract, I consider the resulting works as diagrams or portraits of imagined mental states such as desire, anxiety, sadness, pleasure, or loneliness.”

We chatted with Leigh about how she navigates creation by dialing in to the present moment and how Sweet Reason helps her get to a state where physical and mental tensions soften.

What's your greatest source of inspiration?

The work of other artists, the inner and outer world. Also, I tend to be oddly and strongly inspired by titles of books, poetry and artwork, a well written phrase, a randomly heard pair of words. Then there is coffee, which is a vital ingredient.

How does CBD affect your work?

The dose in a bottle of Sweet Reason creates a softly perceptible loosening of physical and mental tension. I feel more able to focus on the moment and what is happening right now.

How do you get out of a creative rut?

I change channels and use my hands to make something other than art. This is otherwise known as "productive procrastination." I am the master.

How is CBD a part of that?

Now that I have tried it in the context of creating, I may incorporate it into my strategy for being present and peaceful while making work.

How do you find your wellness, state of mind and/or mental health shapes your work?

The better I feel, the more able I am to be present and move forward in a committed way to my work.

Large Collage Untitled, 2018, fabric, gouache, acrylic, graphite, and painted fabric on paper, 50" x 36"

What motivates you every single day?

The idea of starting over and the freedom I have to make good choices.

What is the role of art in your life?

It is seamlessly woven in. I understand the world and myself through it.

Who is your favorite artist?

I am drawn to the work of Gabriel Orozco, Arturo Herrera, Francis Alÿs, Christian Marclay because of their engagement with processes that employ materials that have their own histories already. Orozco describes this engagement with an object when he says, “by creating a new object from it, I bring about the possibility of communication, because it continues to have its own story, in addition to the story of the transformation which it has undergone.”

Resonant Resonant Series, 2019, Collage and mixed media on panel, 9.8" x 9.8"

How do you unwind?

Focus on the breath, or listening carefully to music, absorbed reading of a transporting book, a glass of wine. Looking for something to replace my nightly bath, now that I live in a place with just a shower.

What does success mean to you?

Making decisions at the service of having the best life possible. Ease and awareness. Appreciation.

What's your current obsession?

I don't have a particular "obsession," but there are areas of interest and study that I always return to. Theoretical physics, religion, history, and human psychology are all inspirations in their attempts to address questions about what we are able to know about ourselves and others, the physical world and the nature of reality.

Favorite quote?

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open." - Martha Graham

Resonant Resonant Series, 2019, Collage and mixed media on panel, 9.8" x 9.8"

Top of your Zen playlist:

Groove Salad on

If you could have coffee with anyone in the world who would it be:

I have coffee with her every morning.

Top of your travel bucket list:

I dream of booking a trip to a European city for my first solo show there.

Favorite Sweet Reason flavor:


Artist Statement:

I construct collages and drawings of found materials, painted paper, graphite, and sometimes, fabric. I remove these materials from their original contexts and combine them in ways that create spatial and narrative ambiguity.

The resulting hybrids embody dissimilar, contrasting qualities: organic/geometric, hard/soft, or dimensional/linear. Attempts to reconcile or interpret them resemble the mechanisms by which we try to understand and define what we experience internally and in interaction with others.

While visually abstract, I consider the resulting works as diagrams or portraits of imagined mental states such as desire, anxiety, sadness, pleasure, or loneliness. 

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