Artist Logan Ledford shares with us the inspiration she draws from living in the Big Easy, the process behind her color spots, and what is next for her.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
I grew up in Baton Rouge, LA and went to LSU. After graduating college, I moved to New Orleans, LA in 2011. I have lived and worked here ever since.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF NEW ORLEANS? DOES THE CITY INSPIRE YOUR WORK IN ANY WAY?
New Orleans is an amazing city it basically lives in color. It’s vibrant, open to all, and there’s never a dull moment. It’s impossible to sit still here, the energy is contagious. The color and people here constantly inspire my work. I pull color combos from painted shotgun houses, intricate costumes, and (of course) Mardi Gras. I also feel that people have “color personas” and I create color combos to represent the people I meet.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AN ARTIST?
I have been painting and drawing since I was 3 years old. I have taken art classes every year since then, and even continued education after college at the New Orleans Art Academy. I have a degree from LSU in Interior Design and Art History.
HOW HAS YOUR WORK DEVELOPED FROM WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED TO NOW?
I took a break from painting after college and spent about 4 years in the advertising industry working as a graphic designer. While working downtown I decided to start painting again at home after work hours. My first series I started were more “traditional” brushy abstract paintings, they were dark and a little lost looking. I also really enjoyed print making in school and started creating color blocked monoprints with acrylic art and a plastic platen. I based them off of architectural photographs I took in Europe post college. From these initial prints I started to minimize the shapes and number of colors I used with each print, eventually landing on my signature color spot I use in my current work. The first color spots to begin with were actually very small, about 1-2 inches in diameter. The more I kept painting the larger they got and I started to use the grid system. The largest spot I have created to date is about 15 inches in diameter.
HOW DO YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR COLOR COMBINATIONS FOR YOUR COLOR SPOT COMPOSITIONS?
There are a few different ways I like to create my color combos. I take a lot of pictures around the city, and I will reference those for color combos. Sometimes it’s as simple as 2 color tones plus 2 contrasting tones. Other times I browse Pinterest. I also work with clients on commissions where we decide on a color palette ahead of time. Once the 15-25 colors have been picked out, I disperse the colors throughout the painting keeping eye movement and contrast at the forefront.
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR PROCESS OF CREATING A PIECE?
The background color goes on first, even if it’s just 2 coats of white. I always start with plotting out the grid which I do ahead of time using Adobe Illustrator. I print this grid guide out and find the X,Y center coordinate for each spot and make a note, then I mark it with a pencil on the canvas. Next, I pull aside the colors I want to use for that specific painting, they usually all end up in a pile on the floor so I can spread them out and see them. I pick 4 colors at a time and use a plastic platen to create each one. I measure the diameter of the spot as it’s being printed. Each spot is hand painted/printed, then the platen is washed clean to start the next one. A piece can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours to create depending on size and the number of spots. Drying can take up to 2 weeks.
DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR STUDIO.
I have breakfast and answer emails in the morning. Then I usually walk into the studio around 9 to 9:30am.I put on some music from my spotify daily mix list or listen to a murder podcast (for some reason I find them thrilling). I pick up where I left off from the day before with work, whether it’s painting backgrounds, completing a painting grid, or varnishing and wiring work to ship off. Sometimes I try to sit down at my desk and make a “realistic” to do list of what I want to get done that day, I find it helps to make those small goals. I usually take a lunch break and walk my dog, then go back to work from about 1-5pm.I try to keep this routine up as much as possible or else I can get extremely side tracked with my week!
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE OR DRAW INSPIRATION FROM?
I love so many artists! Ida Kohlmeyer, Ellsworth Kelly, Lichtenstein, Cy Twombly, Warhol, Kusama, Ray Geary, Phillip Low, Mark Lovejoy, and Ashley Longshore! I could keep going but I’ll stop 🙂
I also draw a lot of inspiration from visiting museums & galleries, anytime I travel I try to visit at least 3.
WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU?
Wow! Great question, I’m having a show in New Orleans with Ashton Despot in June then another solo show NYC in July with Lilac Gallery. I am doing more and more sculpture and am experimenting with plaster as a background medium. I’m currently working on a sculpture series that focuses on the history and evolution of the chair. I also will be doing more canvas pieces that only use 1 or 2 colors.