Leslie Hopkins is a painter who makes large abstract paintings with leather. She graduated with Honors from the Ontario College of Art and Design, where she received the W.O. Forsyth Woman Painters award. Her paintings were recently in a group exhibition about artists using repurposed materials at The Living Arts Centre. She lives and works in Toronto.
I like to repurpose things in my everyday life so when someone gave me a leather sample book I found myself drawn to the leather's tactile quality. Influenced by artists who use unconventional materials, my approach was to see how I would redefine it into contemporary paintings.
My artistic approach with these paintings has evolved from purely conceptual to a loose format of process and chance. When I decided to use leather as a material instead of paint, I felt that the material needed some limits as a starting point. I begin my process as a cut and paste abstract upon which size, shape and colours are all predetermined. The materials and the restrictions dictate the work.
While destroying a painting, I discovered that by ripping the leather off the canvas, I could create another textural element to the painting. This technique of deconstruction creates a painterly stroke of archaic rawness. Tearing off the layers I let the space evolve into sculptural and architectural forms. Action and intuitive decisions become the intention of the work.