Today we’d like to introduce you to Leighton Autrey.
Leighton, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was a Major League Baseball prospect drafted by the Seattle Mariners back in 2004, now an artist, spurred by a family crisis to a new dream of creating visual art full of hope and deep meaning.
After graduating college, I was about to sign a minor league baseball contract but my mother got sick with cancer. I stayed home, put my dreams on hold to help out my family. I felt that my faith in God called me to stop doing baseball and to start doing art, so I started doing artwork while working for a construction company.
That was 2008, here we are now, my artwork has gone all around the world. I have shown at some of the biggest shows including Miami Art Basel, the 2012 London Olympics, and Super Bowl XLV in Arlington. I have done artworks for many professional athletes in the MLB, NBA and NLF, art collectors, entertainers such as Wrestling Superstar STING and many others.
I have and still do works for major companies like Red Bull, Jack Daniel’s, Deep Eddy Vodka, SXSW, Capital One and many others.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My style is a mix between urban street art and painting. I am mostly known for turning scriptures from the Holy Bible to modern artworks. I feel that is one of my callings in this world, to make something beautiful or thought provoking visually that was written in the Bible. The sickness and healing of my mother’s cancer made me really see the power of faith and I want to show that to the world, by both my artwork and actions.
I hope that people just stop and see my work, to get their attention for a minute. If I do that, I feel that I have won as an artist because there are so much visual stimuli these days. To get someone to stop, look and think about something I have created makes it worth it. I hope they see the works and get something deep out of it, but if not, I feel I have done my job as an artist and made them stop and think in the first place.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
I think the conditions are great, we live in a time where you can do so much due to the internet. I couldn’t be a living artist, feeding my family (wife Mallary of 9 years, 5-year-old son Carter, 2-year-old son Ellis and my daughter Sterling is due Sept.5th) without it. With social media it is easier to get your work out there. That comes at a price though because people see it cheaply through their phone.
So many people are becoming artist because they see others become artists… cool. They see someone making paintings of cartoon characters that sell for thousands and jump on board the train. Does that make them artists, I don’t know? The competition is getting bigger and bigger but I think that ones who are here to make art for a deeper meaning than to just look cool and make some money are going to go a long way in their own art careers. For the past 10 years I have seen many drops in and out.
Dallas is getting better and better. I think it is a town of old oil type money that is turning its head to many other things. When you start seeing more and more big businesses start commissioning artworks, it’s a good sign. That is happening here more and more.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
- Website: www.leightonautrey.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @leightonautrey
- Facebook: @leightonautery
- Twitter: @leightonautrey
- Other: Snapchat @leightonautrey