Today we’d like to introduce you to Leslie Mauldin.
Leslie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Ten years ago, if I knew the person I’d be today, I would be both shocked and proud of the bold choices I made. Although there were times in high school that I enjoyed math and science courses, visual arts was still what I looked forward to the most. Art has always been my stronghold throughout life.
I was not necessarily encouraged to pursue art as a career. Originally, I was planning on attending school to become a pharmacist, because that’s where the money and stability were. Then, it was business, then a multitude of other things until finally, I realized that I actually have to work this career the majority of my life. I graduated in May of 2018 with my BFA in Visual Art Studies at the University of North Texas. While completing my BFA I also discovered my love for sculpture, and with the support of my partner, I fearfully decided to apply to graduate school. I was elated to hear I had gotten into Texas Woman’s University! As I begin my second year of my MFA in the fall, my long term goal is to teach art at the college level while continuing my individual practice as an artist. I begin teaching my very first college course in the coming semester, and I am overjoyed at this leap forward in my career. This past year, I have realized how true and right this current part of my life feels.
My advice to anyone indecisive about their future is to not be afraid to pursue what you are truly passionate about. It’s not going to be easy, in fact, it’s a lot of incredibly hard work, but so very worth it.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
One of my greatest struggles was going against the advice of others (and that little voice in my head) to pursue a career in art. I was beyond scared, but after much prayer and contemplation, something told me that this was the right choice despite the possible lack of jobs… and girl was it!
Currently, in graduate school, I also struggle with handling the immense amount of stress and pressure of balancing my studies, time for myself, and social life. I find that when I finally make the time for a social life, I am feeling guilty about not creating more artwork, or working on that paper, etc. I’ve heard this phenomenon referred to as “grad-school guilt”, so at least, I know I am not alone.
Please tell us more about your artwork, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am an artist that creates paintings on steel sheet metal, sculptures out of metal and foam, as well as installations. I’ve learned how to cast bronze and aluminum, plasma cut sheet metal, weld, work woodshop machinery, as well as the basics to a CNC router. As a woman artist, it is truly liberating to work in a field mostly dominated by men. I hope that one day, I am able to help other women overcome the fear or hurdles that keep them from getting to where they want to be.
The art I’ve recently created is centered around escapism, as I use art to let my imagination expand into a physical form. My inspiration stems from images of space taken with Hubble Space Telescope, as well as the imaginative terrains described by science fiction. Each of my artworks mentally transports me to a place of euphoria and otherworldliness, similar to what I feel when waking up from a vivid dream or reading descriptive imagery in a book. I’ve sold a range of paintings on steel and copper, and have exhibited works throughout DFW. I am always looking to expand my skill set, and improve my concepts as not only an artist but as an educator as well.
If you had to start over, what would you have done differently?
Given the choice, I would absolutely not do things differently, because each high and each low contributed to where I am today. I believe we are people of free will and that each of our choices does have consequences. There will be failures and not every day is going to be peaches and cream, but I am feeling gratified with the present, and very much looking forward to the future. I can’t wait to see what story I’ll have to tell in another ten years time.
- “The Beyond” ~ 32″x 20″ – Chemical patina, alcohol ink, glow pigment, resin, on steel. $300
- “Utopian Discord” ~27″ x 16″ – Chemical patina, alcohol ink, glow pigment, resin, on steel. $200
- “A Place Unheard of” ~18.5″x9.5″ – Chemical patina, alcohol ink, glow pigment, resin, on steel. $80
- Website: lesliemauldinart.weebly.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @lesliefayeart
Metal pour image by Monica Deanda, all other images by Leslie Mauldin