Artist Spotlight: Leanna Valente

As you know by now, Stripes & Sequins has an fab new contributor… my sister, Becca!  Her blog, (extra)ordinary wonders, is pretty much awesome… and she has an incredible eye for art + design.  Every week, she’ll be introducing us to a different artist… showcasing their amazing work.  I truly love this column – and now, thanks to my sister, learn a little something new about art every week.

Leanna Valente is a self-taught artist living in New York.  The city, fashion, and magazines, top her list of inspiration.  The series she has been working on the past few years focuses on style, fashion magazines, and the entire ‘glossy process’. Leanna focuses on distorting the ideas of perfection through manipulation of the images.   She has also recently started a blog called ‘The Art and Fashion Salon which is another outlet for exploring the fashion and art world.

 Caroline’s Tie To Fashion Is Now – Mixed Media

Where did I grow up/live now?

I grew up in Buffalo, NY, (ages ago), living in New York City.

 Gaga vs. Bazaar – Mixed Media

Please tell us a little about yourself and your work.

I’m a self-taught artist, which I proudly boast about – (I came to realize later in life that you don’t need a formal education to pursue what you love, just “vision” and passion.)  I graduated in broadcast communications and business from SUNY Buffalo and have worked in PR and corporate sales for about 14 years. Throughout all of that, I’ve always been an “artist” and tried to perfect my skills more each year, through teaching myself or attending seminars. I began showing in galleries and alternative spaces nine years ago and have sold work and have many collectors mainly on the east coast from Toronto to Miami.

 McQueen Dream – Mixed Media

Where do you find your inspiration?

All over New York City, daily.  From other artist and their gallery shows, street art, art books and magazines, fashion books and magazines and high-fashion store windows.  And, of course, stopping in every newsstand and glancing at the huge variety of these magazines the city has to offer. You don’t see this variety in any other city!

How do you stay creative?

I’ve learned it’s not anything I have to concentrate on – it’s just there.  It doesn’t go away even if I don’t have time to sit and create.  I’m always thinking, sketching and filling up my sketchbook with ideas.

What advice would you give to other artists and designers?

Evolve!   And, to push through any adversity and keep doing what you love to do no matter what.  Most important do what you were meant to do, otherwise you will get older and realize how much time you wasted pleasing others.  Don’t go to school for “communications” etc., if you know you must be a graphic designer. You’ll waste years. You may make some money but you’ll turn 40, 50, 60 and regret that you didn’t do what you truly were meant to do. Recognize it and embrace it – and don’t be too hard on yourself, the rest of the world will take care of that!  One last thing, if someone doesn’t care for your work, so what?!  Many more people will.  Don’t ever try to please the masses; you’ll lose every time.  Keep evolving!


What are your goals this year? Do you have any exciting new projects coming up?

Yes, to continue to build on “The Fashion Newsstand” but make it better and “stronger.”  After being at Art Basel in Miami a few months back, I realized I need to up my game and push the contemporary side much more. I plan to put out another dozen pieces soon. Also, begin execution on a couple other new similar series and to also concentrate on my photography.  I’m currently working on a book in copyright called “Extreme Fashion Window Design in NYC” in which I have been shooting the most “extreme fashion windows” New York style for the past few years.  I’m big on documentation!  And, I keep the glare, the buildings, the glamour and all the grit on the streets in these photos for a truly “New York” feel.  I hope to have this published in early 2013.

What is your favorite food?

Thai!  Thai! Thai!  (Or anything healthy Japanese, etc.)

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. SarahRoads:

    Very cool work! 

    4.24.12 Reply
  2. These are so great! I would definitely hang one up in my house 🙂

    4.24.12 Reply